Raising kids isn’t always easy, but today I want to share with you 5 simple steps that make a big difference in our home. I’d be lying to say I’m on top of these things all the time. My goal is to remain authentic and come alongside you as you are facing the ups and downs of parenting. I can definitely tell you that these 5 simple steps are things that, when I am on top of, make life around the house more enjoyable.
5 Simple Steps that Make a Big Difference in Our Home
- Playing Music – Having music playing can really change the atmosphere in your home. I know it seems like a really simple step, but the psychology behind music is amazing. I love Pandora for meeting our different moods. When it’s homework time or I want a calm to settle into our home, I play some piano music. If we want to have a dance party, I turn on some fun music. Whether you need calm or happy, music will help.
- Try that Again – “Try that again,” is a phrase we use often in our home. I will let you read more about that technique in the post I have linked to, but essentially this expression works on attitude and obedience problems we see in our kids. Do you question whether obedience is something we should even teach our kids? If so, check out this post.
- Tone of Voice – Tone of voice is something I am REALLY trying to work on. I would say this is the hardest thing for me as I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve. However, when I can stay calm and parent with a cool and collected voice, I see much better results. The trick is to fake it until you make it. Keep a positive tone. Even when you are giving discipline, you can respond kindly and calmly. “Wow. That was disappointing. I love you so much and want to teach you how to do the right thing, so I need to give you a consequence.” You can talk firm at times, but you don’t want to be your constant tone.
- Empathy – We want to be empathetic with our kids, but we also want to teach them empathy by asking great reflective questions. Rather than saying, “Don’t take that. You need to share,” ask questions. Say, “How would it make you feel if your friends weren’t willing to share with you?” We want to teach our kids to be thoughtful. Here are some more questions to ask, “How would it make you feel if I walked into your room and messed it up and expected you to clean up? We want to be thoughtful. Can you please pick up your clothes off the middle of the living room floor?” Here’s another example: “If we don’t hurry, we will be late. We need to show respect to the people who are waiting for us. How would it make you feel if you were waiting for someone to arrive, and they weren’t showing?”
- Distraction – The art of distraction is a beautiful thing. It works really well with toddlers, but can help kids of all ages. If you remove a desired item from a toddler, it is easy to distract them with another toy or activity. Yesterday my niece was over, and she didn’t want to leave. She started to cry. I picked her up to walk her out, and she was crying. I opened the door and said, “Oh! Look at the squirrel. What do you think that squirrel is looking at? Go check it out.” She immediately got distracted and stopped crying. I set her down, and she started running after the squirrel. I use this tool of distraction in the car all the time. The kids might begin getting on each other’s nerves. I can immediately point out something outside of the car. I also might suggest one of our favorite car games. Around the house I might ask for help with something fun, ask questions, show them something interesting or even do a quick YouTube video. There’s definitely a time for kids to experience disappointment, so we don’t get into the habit of substitute parenting. However, it’s definitely appropriate and helpful to practice the art of distraction in parenting.
I believe in these 5 simple steps that make a big difference in our home. I also believe they can make a huge difference in yours.