Enjoy Harmony in Your Household
- Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Communicate wisely with your spouse. Share the workload around the house. View each other as the equal partners you are, and seek to bless each other when you do chores, rather than resenting the work you have to do. Forget tradition when dividing household responsibilities; instead, divide them by who’s most gifted to handle what and how much time you each have at home. If your husband is a better cook than you and has the time to cook, encourage him to do so. If your wife can perform house and car repairs and is available for it, invite her to do so. Figure out how you and your spouse’s strengths and weaknesses complement each other. Expect that you’ll each sometimes fail to complete chores on time or well; whenever that happens, forgive and help each other. Whenever you disagree about a job that needs to be done around the house, pray for God to help you resolve the conflict with wisdom. Discover projects you both enjoy and can work on together to strengthen your bond.
Build teamwork among your family members. Give every family member in your house the opportunity to express their goals for your household. Then do whatever you can to work together to pursue common goals. Avoid nagging or yelling when trying to motivate family members to pitch in with their share of the work around the house; realize that nagging and yelling never motivates people and creates negative relationships with them. Instead, identify expectations clearly (define what your family considers to be a clean house, and how certain chores should be done to be done successfully) and negotiate with kindness and respect. Use incentives like praise and rewards to positively motivate your family members – especially your children. Remember that you’re doing your kids a favor when you require them to help with household chores; you’re helping them learn valuable life skills they’ll need when they live on their own, and you’re giving them opportunities to invest in their home to increase their sense that it belongs to them, too. Be sure to thank each of your family members for the chores they do, even though they’re expected to do the work. Let them know regularly how much you appreciate their contributions to your family’s household.
Establish a calm morning routine. Recognize that mornings are the launching pad for the day, so if they go well, your whole family will start the day off right. Plan to get up early enough to spend time with God in prayer and through Bible reading and meditation. When you interact with family members, keep your communication positive. Spend time the night before organizing key items you’ll need in the morning, such as by setting out your clothes and making sure you have enough food and drink for breakfast.
Set school day rules. Save energy that you would otherwise use to argue with your kids by creating rules to manage school days well. Give your kids the opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings about school day logistics such as how they should get ready for school on time, do their homework, communicate with you about important items like permission slips, etc., and seriously consider their input when setting the rules. Then, presenting a united front with your spouse, let your kids know clearly what you expect. Keep in mind that your rules can change as your kids grow, according to what works best at a particular time.
Create healthy meals and fun mealtimes. Aim to plan and cook healthy, delicious meals for your family regularly, and to enjoy eating those meals together as often as possible. Involve each family member in planning menus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Then post the menus in a prominent place, and shop for all the ingredients in advance. Have everyone pitch in to help prepare the meals as much as possible; assign everyone a job (even young children can help wash fruit and vegetables or set the table). Make eating together a high priority; try to arrange your schedules around eating at least dinner together whenever you can. Ask each other questions to encourage interesting and positive conversations at the table.
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