Why not make them a part of your "spring cleaning"?
What makes for a happy home? Is it having plentiful sofas, nice neighbours, or perhaps super-fast Wi-Fi? Believe it or not, they all make the list according to a recent study cited on the Be Home Blog. As well as some (perhaps more surprising?) factors which would seem to make for less family time, but do play a part in preventing tension – for example, everyone having their own phones, or having a lock on the bathroom door.
These above points might seem trivial, but there are others on the list (of 50 – see the full list here) that do resonate with me. Here are my favourites:
Keeping the home tidy
Seems unnecessary? Not so! There’s something about being in clean, neat surroundings that calms a person. I’ve heard it said that the state of your wardrobe reflects the state of your soul – wouldn’t it make sense then, that the state of your home affects the state of your mind? It’s so much easier to relax in a tidy home – you actually want to be there rather than escape it. I’d say it’s one of the foundations for fostering a pleasant environment.
Knowing when to say sorry
There’s nothing quite like rising tensions and long-held grudges to kill the mood of a home. If people are upset at each other, everyone can sense it, that’s for sure. Admitting being at fault and then apologising is certainly a hard thing to do, but if you’re brought up doing this in the little things, then it’s easier to do it in the bigger things. I’ve always tried to apologise and making peace before going to bed. “Don’t let the sun set on your anger” and all that.
Not having secrets
My family is pretty bad at having secrets, and I think that can be a good thing. We’ve always been frank and open with each other, fostered by the fact that my parents are very understanding. They trust that they’ve brought us up well and so aren’t over-controlling, meaning that instead of doing things behind their backs, we’re upfront and they respect our decisions (or offer advice if they significantly disagree). Sure, it might be annoying at times, but I think it really shows that we care about what’s happening in everyone’s lives, as opposed to the stereotype that big families can’t possibly keep up with each other.
Putting the kids’ paintings on the walls
One of the main styling themes of our home? Family-friendly. Placed amongst the other decor has always been someone’s drawing or clay artwork or poster, and while it’s hardly stylish, it sure made us happy as kids. Because it might just seem like hanging a cute drawing, but it’s also valuing their talents, appreciating the work they put into it, and conveying that the family is proud of them. So why not, really?
Having ‘in’ jokes / having regular heart-to-hearts / making time for each other
Like any family, we squabble over little things. But the best moments happen when all nine to twelve of us are crowded around our six-seater informal dining table, having finished our meal a while ago, just laughing and chatting away. Or when Dad fires up the BBQ and we chill out in the backyard. Or those late-night chats where we gather in our parents’ room. The fact that we’re able to put down our phones, turn off the TV and communicate, is pretty special and helpful to feeling like part of the family.
Having grandparents nearby
Don’t grandparents just make everything better? Having them around is great in so many ways. Our Nana lives with us and that means that there’s another adult in the house (we never really needed babysitters when we were younger), she spoils us and sings us a special birthday song, and generally she is a unifying factor in the family. Grandparents have so much to give but sadly in this day and age, the elderly are not valued in Western society and are moved into nursing homes too often when it’s not actually necessary. I really would like to see that change.
Lots of music
Perhaps every family doesn’t need this – but mine thrives with it. We love music in the car, in the background to brunch on a Sunday morning, while we’re cleaning up, always! My theory on this one is that it lifts the mood and creates a happy atmosphere (assuming we’re listening to cheerful tunes, of course).
Tamara Rajakariar writes for MercatorNet where this article was first published.