Four Steps to a More Peaceful Home
A peaceful home is something many of us long for. A place where relationships are healthy and spirits are happy, where we can rest our weary bones and just be ourselves.
There’s no denying that creating a peaceful home takes work. The road to peace is not smooth or easy, but it’s worthy!
I have found the following four steps to lay the foundation for a calm and peaceful home:
Create a flexible routine (with plenty of margin)
When followed consistently, a routine brings peace and order to the home.
Most children take comfort in routine and find it easier to transition from one thing to the next when they know what to expect. It also helps us as mothers to be more efficient and productive.
While a routine is usually a good thing, one that is packed to the gills will only bring stress and guilt (because you will rarely keep it perfectly). To maintain a peaceful environment, it is important to leave space for the unexpected. We call this margin.
Margin is having the time to be spontaneous or deal with an unforeseen mishap. It’s allowing enough room to look at a pretty bird that visits your yard or answer a soul-searching question from your child.
To include margin in your routine, plan a little extra time for each activity, or include “unscheduled” blocks in your daily plan.
Take time to plan
Have you ever realized on Saturday night that the church potluck is in the morning and you have no food? Or, when getting dressed for worship notice your dress is still in the laundry hamper?
These things happen to all of us at one time or another and add a great deal of stress to the home atmosphere. Thankfully, with a little forethought, instances like these occur much less often.
If you want a peaceful home, planning is a must.
Planning can involve a weekly sit-down in which calendars are checked and itineraries synced. Knowing what events or outings are taking place will allow you to make shopping lists and menu plans accordingly. It is always helpful to know which nights require quick and easy dinners or what days the bathroom really must be clean (because you are having company).
In addition to a weekly planning session, it is also important to incorporate daily planning habits. My preferred method is to check the calendar in the evening before writing my to-do list for the next day. I sleep more soundly knowing I have a plan for the morning. Find something that works for you.
Take time to prepare
After all that planning we need to take action and prepare! While it requires some effort, implementing this step makes a huge difference in the home.
Here are a few examples of where a little preparation can be very helpful:
Homeschool: Print out any worksheets or papers a least a month in advance, punch holes in them and file in an easy to access location (I know some print everything they will need for the entire year! I think that is an excellent idea).
Food: Preparing ahead makes meals more enjoyable. It also cuts down cooking time considerably.
Pre-cook meats and store for quick meal preparation.
Pre-cook entire meals and freeze. Think once a month cooking or double batch cooking.
Soak grains overnight so they will be ready for baking the following day.
A solid plan will make food preparation much less stressful (and more likely to actually happen).
Outings: Lay out clothing the night before, all the way down to socks, shoes, and underwear. Set all needed items by the front door or in the car. Fill water bottles and gather snacks.
Image by Horton Group
Spend focused one-on-one time with each child
Children want and need our attention. (And they will get it one way or another.)
Spending one-on-one time with each child, without distraction, will reap many benefits. Turn off the computer, let the answering machine take care of any calls, and do something your child enjoys.
Although it often seems we don’t have time to set aside our to-do list, the return on this investment is great (and completely worth it).
In doing this you are building a relationship with your child and essentially building them up as a person. One added benefit is that kids who are getting positive, focused attention are more likely to be happy and leave you to finish the to-do list! They are also less apt to whine and fuss; which we all know would bring a lot more peace!
I know I have only scratched the surface and there are many other factors which play a part in creating a peaceful home.
Timely post as always. We are struggling with our routine at the moment while we are on summer holidays from school. We have very little routine at the moment & the house is a mess. i must admit that I never thought of a summer routine.
Thank you! Your list was helpful and reminded me about those important aspects of daily family life, which over time translate into a peaceful home!
I’m in the same boat as Nicola. The house has felt chaotic all summer. I’m longing for a routine and today I’m going to continue getting things planned/mapped out a little better. I really need to work on my meal planning. I struggle with that and it makes a huge difference.
Great post! I think that a peaceful home fosters such a wonderful environment for laughing, learning and loving. I used to get so stressed out when dishes weren’t done or my husband wanted to go away and all of the “work” wasn’t done first. I have learned to relax, let things slide a bit and ask for help when I need it.
I think another thing that adds to peace is communication. When you are able to communicate properly with your spouse and children it leaves less room for that “build up” most of us women can get. At least for me, when it builds and builds it explodes and it usu sally isn’t pleasant. Now that I have learned to ask for help, talk about what is bothering me and more importantly give it to God I think our home is much more peaceful.
@Danielle, You made some excellent points here Danielle! I agree with you that communication is key. It’s probably one of the most important factors in creating a peaceful home.
I love that you have learned to let some things slide a little and ask for help when you need it. Trying to keep everything perfect (and do it all ourselves) usually stresses everyone out! Thanks for sharing!
…to have family devotions and prayer each morning. We also sometimes sing hymns together. In addition, memorizing scriptures helps too!
In addition to all the great ideas you’ve already mentioned, I also plan all of our meals on Plan to Eat. I actually now do a month at a time and do one big grocery shopping trip once every month then I just have to make a quick stop or 2 to pick up dairy/produce during the week.
I love your point about spending quality time with your children. This is commonly overlooked but I believe is so important too.
@Stacey, It’s great that you plan your meals so far ahead! I would love to do that! I’m sure that brings a lot of peace for you and the rest of the family.
I am finding that spending time with the kids makes a BIG difference! It should probably be at the top of the list 🙂
One more thing – I just started doing this but it has already been fantastic. I do my best to be off my computer (blogs, facebook, etc) all weekend long. I thought I would miss it but I have found I actually start looking forward to a free weekend from online stuff.
@Stacey, Love this! You are a smart lady 🙂
Understand your kids’ needs carefully. It’s important to meet them and not get impatient. Kids behave terribly and seek negative attention when you don’t. Ask me how I know…lol.
@Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama, So true Kate! I have experienced this first-hand as well. Patience is hard!
Great post–that I really needed! We are really in need of more order in our home–and I have been inspired by both this post and Stephanie’s post on the schedule from earlier in the week. The point about one-on-one time is so true! Thank you!
Excellent post and a great reminder! I’m personally working on routines with margins and also, streamlining the menu planning process. I find that when I know what to cook and what to do I am more peaceful and as a result, our home is more peaceful too.
Just wanted to tell you thanks so much for this post! How to have a peaceful home has been on my heart, and all of your suggestions spoke volumes to me. In fact, they are just reinforcing what God has whispered already to me. Thanks again!
@Crystal, So glad it was helpful Crystal!
This was a great post. I have found the only times I am not late for everything is to give myself 1 to 2 hours extra between each! activity. I seldom do this though. And a question… how do we give ourselves margin, when I want to be home with the children, but they drive me batty lately, and my husband and many many others in my daily life want me to go back to work. (But the very thought of it makes me feel stressed and angry?) Thanks.
Michelle Duggar plays harp music to create a calm atmosphere.