Awesome Family Habit: How to Preview our expectations

How to practice previewing as a family habit to share expectations

Part 1 showed us why we need to preview with our children for a happier harmonious family home. Go there now to catch up on what is previewing and why we need to do it more in our homes.

Here in part 2 we’re looking out how to preview with our children and how to have that better experience when transitioning.

Here’s how we previewed our weekend away to a family retreat to Great Wolf Lodge.

Tell them what’s about to happen ( Preview)

We’ve signed up for a family retreat and there’s lots of fun things for the family to do like a water park. We’ll stay in a hotel and we have to drive a little bit to it. We went into as much detail as we knew and before we’d got much out the questions started coming.

Ask them the expectations ( Retrieve)

What do you think we should be doing when we’re in the hotel room?

What happens if things are different to what you’re used to?

We asked these and a few other questions that helped to manage their expectations and ours about what we flet would happen. We painted a picture. It was a chance for them to ask questions again about our family rules. So of course we discussed TV and electronics time and how to tackle a buffet. Not everything we do at home should be done when we’re away. It’s a chance to so the flexibility of the family and how we adapt to different situations.

Walk them through some scenarios  ( real time thinking)

What happens if you get lost? What’s the best way to share a space? What’s the best thing you can do when you’re awake and bored at 5am? ( In your room, humming and drumming on the bed would have been fine but in a shared hotel room you just wake up 4 other people who are cross- true story!)

Based on other experiences and the temperaments of the children we can walk them through situations to help them feel secure while in this new environment. The children  will offer advice, ideas and support to each other.  Anticipate and provide a chance to discuss solutions.

and allow chance to adjust and comment ( reflect)

We had these conversations in the week leading up to us leaving. There was ample chance for them to come back with more questions after they had time to reflect. These reflect times really gave the boys time to see into what could go and build a picture of what was to come. Once there, none of them seemed anxious or sullen. A big contrast to the ball. The reflection time helps them think of others and not just themselves.

Share your family way of handling it ( values)

Here’s the good opportunity to take a fresh reminder of our family values. For us we talked some about manners, politeness and minding others since we’re sharing space. Letting things go and thinking of others. Here’s a printable prompt of family values. We used questions like, what would be the right thing to do if someone bumped you in the line? Often we’d start conversations with- in our family we would…. We gave other families permission this way to do what’s best for their families and we choose what we feel is best for ours.

Pause and time to process ( Sets a direction or destination as a choice)

They could naturally come up with things to bring in the down times, suggestions of things to do nearby or when we’re there. They might have choices for audiobooks or DVDS along the way. Instead of unchartered territory as a family we had given them a few landmarks and a direction. There’s still space to explore and learn but now within secure and safe parameters. Allowing at least time overnight helps as they transition from their regular rhythms to this new experience. Giving a timed warning is another effective method.  We’re leaving in 20 minutes is better than let’s go. It’s time to go.

Unexpected outcomes of previewing

When previewing situations becomes a regular family habit there are a few unexpected outcomes. They bring situation to you about things that happen in school. They have the framework of how to couch the situation without getting their friends into trouble. Often we’re faced with dealing with situations alone and in the moment. Previewing allows us to put lots of heads together and get many ways to view a situation.  It normalizes, it is okay to ask for advice and help.

Now we have alternatives and choices and are reminded that there’s many ways to react and do and each bring different results.

Getting our children to think before they act is a hard.

As is deferring gratification for some children. Previewing gives the family chance to practice these essential skills within our loving atmospheres. Previewing doesn’t just happen in families. After all, CEO and future leaders share their vision, their next big idea, the project with their workers. They have to work through the situation, be proactive, foresee problems head them off and reflect too.

 Where to get ideas

Keep a list of family situations that could do with some previewing. Here’s some family preview ideas in this printable.

What situations do you preview with your children? Here are some examples of encouraging unity, boundaries, expectations, reducing anxiety, letting them process and reflection. Family habits to cultivate

Download the family habit preview printable

I love Evernote for this as I see Facebook Videos, Pinterest Stories and Magazine News reports, I either screen shot them or send them to a family notebook dedicated to conversation. Great for conversation starters at mealtimes or in the car. Topics don’t have to be heavy but relevant for your family. Other peoples situations make for good family learning too.

Previewing takes time. Bedtime is a great time to do this although as our family has gotten bigger it’s easier to do this altogether than with each child at least when we’re initially talking. As the children have gotten older family roundtables and meal times have been good times too.

This is part 2. Read part one about how previewing will lead to a more harmonious household.


Awesome Family Habit: Preview our expectations


Sharing with our children what's coming up next before it happens. Previewing supports the family expectations, values and offers security and calm in a transitionary time

My dress was ready.

The uniform was looking sharp!

I’d found the cute bag and matching shoes. We were ready for the ball. It was on my electronic calendar but somehow it didn’t get written on the family calendar. We were ready for the ball but the kids had no idea that their Friday night was about to be hijacked. Friday night in our home is family night. It’s not surprising then that on Thursday during a casual conversation about the ball did we not realize the emotional tsunami to come.

A complete oversight. Caught on the hop. Three annoyed boys.

The next night didn’t go so well. Two sullen boys and one happy boy left with very overdressed and apprehensive parents.

Two were embracing the phrase: Misery loves company and the other was just in his happy place, much to the frustration of his brothers.   After hurried and whispered exchanges with the wonderful caregivers, we left. Hopeful that they would get it together or keep it together and that once the object of their frustration, namely us, was gone that they might have a reasonable, indeed a good time.

As much as possible we prefer to preview with our children as it makes life a lot easier. Previewing is when you talk about what’s going to happen before it happens to discuss likely ways that things might happen or ways that you might behave depending on what’s going on. We’ve found previewing an excellent way to answer all those questions and reassure the children of choices they can make and remind them of our expectations.

We’d failed to do that with the ball and we felt it.

Why Preview?

  • When you set high expectations we try and reach them. When we set no expectations there’s nothing we have to aim for and we use the knowledge we have which may not be what we’d like to see our children do.
  • Takes away the anxiety of a new situation less likely to act out, flip out or blurt out.
  • Gives children a chance to process without the pressure of the situation and plan. E.g. bring resources, defer gratification , do something different now etc.
  • Allows them to learn how to plan their time and not be whisked away at a moments notice. (Respectful of time)
  • Allows them to prepare, manage expectations and be at peace with the situation.
  • We are all clear on setting our family boundaries and outlining expectations.
  • We’re together on this. There’s no misunderstandings. Children have a lot to remember. Bringing things to the top of our minds.


It’s a respectful family habit.

We maynot like to go or do somethings but give us a little time we can manage ourselves and get it done. We need to model this process with our families. Previewing supports this uneasy transition and encourages family harmony and flow.

Find out next how to use previewing in your family and establish another awesome family habit.

For more ideas on family atmosphere and family flows follow this Pinterest board

Follow Mel Avila’s board Simple rhythms and schedules in the home on Pinterest.


Follow the series

1. Awesome Family Habit: Preview our expectations

2.  Awesome Family Habit: How to Preview our expectations

15 Day Mom Challenge Nurturing Our Family Haven

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The focus is on nurturing our family haven. Finding those things that take life, parenting and home life up a level all with a little fun along the way.


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Raise your family: 5 surefire ways to support family life at home

5 surefire ways to support family life at homeThere are active ways to support family life that we each know works right now in our families.

As we transitioned from our home to a hotel to another country, another hotel before coming into a new home there were lots of things we just weren’t able to maintain. But there were many things we just knew if we hung onto them family life would be so much easier for us all. I’m sure you feel the same.

Whether it’s due to a move to a new place or wanting to change the atmosphere at home, here are 5 ways to support family life at home to try.

Retelling stories from family history

Our families have a rich history, if only we heard more about it. We can learn so much about family through the experiences they had and learn why things were perhaps the way they were. Children find it hard to believe that their parents made mistakes, reaped consequences and made poor choices. It’s here the life lessons come up naturally and how we learn from others. It gives us a sense of who we are within our families and how often we’ve changed as parents. ( Gives our children hope!)

Raise your expectations

Expecting children to do better as they get used to a new system, behaviour or plan is a natural progression. Sometimes we get stuck. When we teach the four year old to clean their room we allow that it’s not going to be the same as how we do it. They grow into this skill by doing. But if we keep the same expectation for their nine year old brother we’re doing them a disservice.  They are not learning to support family life. Not all things will be age related but often we forget to raise our expectations regularly to fit the growing maturity of our children.

Being around people that are different than your family experience

It’s easy to stay around people that are just like you. One thing that being around different people has taught our family and supported our family life is the conversations that are sparked.  We learn about festivals, observances, holy and high days, food practices, clothing, rituals as well as an ability to ask questions and see things from a range of perspectives.

Many of our worries are magnified.

When we live and mix in a wide social and cultural gatherings our family values are shaped, prodded and ignited. We live in a multicultural world and we don’t know where are children will work and live. Let’s not the first encounter of different people be to them when they are entering adulthood but often and frequently when they are young as their minds are forming.

They need us to hold the space open of stillness and quiet and not let everyday be just about busyHolding the space for down time, unstructured play, silliness and quiet

As we bounce from season to season of family as parents we need to hold the space for things we know that strengthen the family and nourish our individual children ( and us!) The quiet ones in the family need their downtime to recharge and continue to do great things. We need time for silliness, fun and laughter within our family and it not be such a serious tiring place for everyone. We all need quiet and stillness to reorganize. With the pressure to conform and imitate what everyone else is doing we must look within our own families and choose the best ways to support our family life at home according to the season. My season and family will be different to yours.

Be specific

“Go tidy your room!”

“You are being disrespectful to your sister!”

Just like the phrase, “Good job!” These types of phrases are way to vague for our family members to really achieve the aim we have in mind. The more specific we are saying exactly what we want or would like to see, the better the result. We want our children to succeed yet we often miss this one rule.

Be specific.

“Go pick up all the books of the bed, the clothes on the floor and then come and tell me.”

As they get older I’ve found saying go tidy your room usually starts with books off the bed, clothes off the floor because this is how they learned to do it. There’s a system and way to tackle a huge area.

There’s always time to work on family atmosphere and create a place where children and adults want to stay.  There’s time to grow together as a family and support it by trying these surefire ways to support family life.

Creating our happy place

Creating our happy place is one practice that helps you step towards your next season. It's an upgrade without losing function.

Dear Creative and Sensitive Mom,

Lots of times other families look happy and fancy. It’s true there are happy and fancy families around. Just because your family or mine isn’t happy and fancy at this point in time, doesn’t mean family can’t be happier.

I can be happier. You too.

At this time of year probably more than any other we’re feeling the burn out of the summer holidays. That’s not to say we didn’t have good and great times. The times were just different and with difference there’s struggle. As the children are settling into new routines we start to look at our own routines and often feel a little lost. What happened to our dreams? Will life always be like this?

I want to tell you this feeling is for a season but truthfully a season can last a long time, if we let it. We have to begin planning our next season but it’s hard if you feel stuck. There’s been times when I’ve been stuck and like childhood tag I needed something or someone to free me. We don’t always have the right people around us lift us up or encourage us. We see others and we see ourselves and there’s a big gulf between us.

It’s more than- what shall I do now the kids have gone to bed?

Creating our happy place is one practice that helps you step towards your next season. It’s an upgrade without losing function. It’s a change in your operating system. It’s the you way through to the next stage.

Essentials for creating a your happy place

Having a plan for you. What do you want to be? do? Do you want to go back to college or uni? Change jobs or careers? Start working? Work differently? Work at home? Be your own boss? Research a little and don’t be afraid of long time frames. Enjoy the process of reconnecting with you.

Have a plan for hobbies. Those things you used to love doing but somehow fell by the wayside. What do you want to learn, try, experience? You may have liked them 10 years ago, feelings perspective has changed. Embrace new ideas whether in a new team or by yourself.

Have a place for your thoughts. Do you have a place where your record your positive, exciting happy thoughts. Is there a place you can look back and be reminded during the darker days?

Have a plan for your mind. What new practice will make your family/you/ your writing/your running/your health/ fill in the blank, better? Have you tried a 30 day challenge recently? When did you last finish that book or article? Fill your commute times with podcasts that nourish and encourage. Words are powerful. Let the right ones reach you regularly.

Cultivate authentic relationships. Find your few people that you can share any of these. Someone who will hold you. Smile with you. Cry with you and encourage you. It might take time but keep moving until you find them. There’s not one and only way of doing things. There’s not one and only one type of person. Find new people.

Creating our happy place is one practice that helps you step towards your next season. It's an upgrade without losing function.

Summer was hot and humid as it was may have zapped our strength but Autumn is coming. There’s a small gradual shift as we cool down and appreciate a difference in the Autumn colors, moods and atmosphere.

Creating our happy place is the start of changing your season.

See you there.


How to start the family working together?

How to start the family working together

Getting the family working together can seem like an uphill task.

As part of the back to school series, we are looking at ways to have a happier school year for everyone. Around the middle of the last school year you were doing a lot, maybe even too much. The children are growing and so should their responsibility within the family. I know it is easier if you do it yourself but we’re raising children to become adults so much of what we do is training, trying new things and encouragement. Today it is time for the family.  Looking at these areas and ask what are they like in my family right now?


Many things happen by chance but we need to decide how we want our family to be and often work backwards to get to the goal. Are we an intentional family? What are we intentional about?

Areas to consider

meal times, bedtimes, homework before play, play before homework, contributions, reading, media, sports, nature ________ ?


Often our disposable income encourages us to spend more than we give and our children misunderstand the value of spending time and giving of themselves. It’s something we have to actively teach through our actions.

Areas to consider

unnecessary gifts ( supermarket, errand to the shops, pressured at the till), lack of age appropriate regular contributions, serving in age appropriate ways, giving of ourselves with no expectations of receiving.


Good habits formed at youth make all the difference- Aristole

It’s the habits we teach our children that they lean on and keep. What habits are we teaching them about family working together?

  1. Start by making sure you and your partner are on the same page with what you mean by the family working together and what it is that you will be working together as a family on. Do you want everyone to learn to sort, wash, dry and put away their laundry? or cook a meal once a week? Be ready in the morning independently?  Not take each other’s things without asking? Walk the dog? Whatever the thing or things be united on one thing.
  2. Set an age appropriate goal and time limit. These are for us as parents to reevaluate and alter as needed. With young children the season is different to a mixed household where children span elementary, middle and a babe in arms.

There are many ways that this next stage happens and it really depends upon your family. One way that works is to call a meeting and share your vision. There’s often a lot of push back because we mostly don’t like change that means we have to do something.  The good thing is that the parents are united.

We become the sum of what we do all the time

Getting started…

Another approach is to take on each child at a time. During a connecting activity where you are together one on one where you’re usually sharing like going for a walk, washing dishes, folding laundry or sweeping the yard, start talking about how you learnt something from a family member. Talk about how families work together and how we’re going to do this more.

Set aside time to teach each part of the working together and expect there to be hiccups. Have grace and laughter come quickly to your lips than anything else as we boldly try to work together for the good of the family.

A great exercise for how the house runs is to list all the things that have to happen including the contributions.  Get the children to list all the things that they have to do. Ask them what they would like to learn how to do.

Take time to explain how and why you keep a diary and to do list and why the children should understand and start using one too. Comment about when things don’t run smoothly what happened. Give the children a chance to notice and adapt.

As parents we are driving this family. To avoid burnout and getting caught up in the now we have to set our own trail.

Entitlement depletes families. Habits are powerful. Intention moves families.


What type of family do you want to be?

Back to School: Family Values for the Month


Starting with family values as you start the school year. Let's get talking!

Family values help glue our families together. Yet we don’t often talk about it openly within our family or to our children. Our children learn our values from seeing what we do and watching others. It’s not until we see something happen right before our eyes that we realize that maybe we haven’t shared this value very well. A lot of what happens within family we just hope the children will just pick it up, get it and do it. The conversation though is what counts.

This school year we’re taking a closer look at character and values. We’re taking a whole month where we focus on a value we really want to see.

  1. the value goes on the electronic calendar so everyday I’m reminded of the value and how I can try and show it.
  2. the value will show up in our family roundtable discussion
  3. the value will show up as a dinner time conversation through a Character Conversation Card.

Character Conversation Cards- a sample

Download your Character Conversation Card

How often?

Not everyday or all the time. But there is lots of opportunity to bring values into the open with video, news reports and recalled stories from the day.

One of our core family values is time and simplicity. There’s always time to stop and have a chat. Over a cup of tea and an English biscuit of course. Spending time together is important. It doesn’t mean it happens all the time. But we make time to find time because it is during this time with each other that we listen, laugh and learn.

We learn to be kinder, have more empathy, vent and disagree appropriately ( well we’re on our way- still not there yet!) Keeping family life simple and holding that space allows you to decompress during the week without a full timetable of activities. There will always be weeks where activities ramp up, we adjust but we become a lot more deliberate about holding us back to what we want to be.

Wonderfully we all have such different families.

We are swept along. We are influenced. We stumble.

We choose our direction.

Next steps…

Take a moment now to think of a value for the coming month.

Don’t make this hard.

Choose one from the printable that best fits your family. Sometime in that month talk about that value and in twelve months time you’ll have shared your values intentionally a minimum of twelve times spoken about things you wanted. It feels good to be ahead instead of catching up.

Talking about values helps us get ahead. Imagine how friendship groups with our children would be if you knew the families of your friends talked about friendship, being a friend, generosity, firmness, speaking up, speaking out, tolerance?

Celebrating Family Values. Which one is your focus this month?

Download this printable


Back to School Series

  1. Back to School: Figuring out the Family Media Plan

Back to School: Figuring out the Family Media Plan

How will we all use our media devices as a family? Figuring out our family media plan   + Printable questions to get started

How we use media, screens and devices creeps up on many of us.

Devices multiply and soon there are a bunch of portable devices to manage.

Before going back to school I love to go back over what worked and what didn’t work so well the previous school year. Doesn’t have to be long or written but there are usually some lessons I don’t want to repeat and a few I do want to encourage. I’m sure you feel the same way.

TV and Computer Games

We’ve had the plan as a family to have a streaming service and not a regular cable company. The boys have a profile and the parents have their profile.  Generally as a rule the TV isn’t on by default. It’s been an intentional decision from the beginning.  It’s rare to have the TV on during the week, after school unless there is a purpose. It does happen but it is rare.

Computer games are shared usually strategic games and a few mindless ones and always in an area where we can see with a timer like this one. If we don’t have a timer we totally lose track of time. Gaming usually happens on a Sunday.

Portable devices

So far no cell phones for the kids. It’s coming but so far there’s no need or pressure. I need to enforce better office hours for checking things online. It’s hard for the boys to see the difference between me checking Pinterest for the dinner recipe or Evernote for booklist recommendation to whether I’m goofing off on Twitter or watching a video on Facebook. I need to get better with that.

iPods are popular in our home. As a big listener of podcasts for me and the boys of audiobooks I’d love to encourage more audio stories. We are mid way through Mattimeo and loving it. It’s remembering that these portable devices aren’t for solo use. Ditto the iPad. We’ve just started to explore the apps area and find more than just games.

School use

We were totally new to school websites carrying so much information for the children last year. So this year the boys are encouraged to check the website for homework, games, textbooks and notes.

With their own profiles on the computer the boys are learning to login, find and do without distraction. Did I mention that having a timer helps?

Watch and Eat

Something unusual that we love to do as a family maybe once a week is to watch something and eat altogether. It flies in the face of everything yet we’re happy to show the flexibility and temperance we have for media.

So far we loving: How the States Got their shapes, Presidents ( We are trying to understand and learn this new place where we live) Cosmos, Planet Earth because we love stuff like that or the latest movie if it is family night. The conversations we have during and after keep this gathering as a vital part of what we do as a family.

These are some of our guidelines for the year. Like with all things we will modify them as we go along. We aim for these ideals and so far they’ve helped us stay productive and ensuring we all get a good night’s sleep.

Try these questions to get you started

Family media plan

Free Printable

What ideas do you have for your family media plan this school year?

Peaceful Solutions to Minimize Family Strife – when you know how

Peaceful solutions to minimize family strife

When there’s a place for everything and everyone knows that place it is easier for anyone in the family to have a good idea to find it. It means that we’re not waiting on one person to find the socks or only one person knows where things are. It’s a burden lifted. It’s actually a joy to hear the boys going to each other first to try and solve the problem. We’re working together as family.

It helps that their contributions are rotated. One of them is likely to have done it before so knows the supplies, the general idea of what to do and is good to help and support.

This type of responsibility is very needed in our households as we learn to share how to do things, then how to do things well and finally how to do things consistently well. It’s the essence of a peaceful family home to ability to work together, when we see the need and before we see the need.

In every family there are regular things that need replacing. For example, like toilet rolls, empty ketchup bottles, socks with holes in, things that need refilling and things that are finished.

Some kids use lots of toilet paper so need help with that. Others are quick to get a new roll even when there’s lots of paper left on the end of a roll. Some just don’t know how to take off the old roll and replace it.  If you find yourself constantly changing the empty toilet roll then #1 in this series might just be the solution.

Child friendly and within reach

Cleaning supplies are altogether in one place in the utility room and each bathroom has a set of cleaning products. The cleaning supplies belong to the bathroom and not to the person. It’s not my cupboard, for example where I keep all MY supplies. It’s the cupboard under the sink where the supplies are kept. #3 where does it live.

4 When it’s gone- follow through

But what happens when the cleaning solution is finished? There has to be a system for telling so it’s replaced. This is an area we fall down on. I have one son who is really good at letting me know that the ketchup bottle or the maple syrup is almost up but I can see those. It helps if your contribution is a refilling task as you can quickly see that your refills are almost empty or gone.

We’re trying to instill the idea that if you’re using something and it’s almost running out or empty- tell someone! Now we can get a refill or put it on the list for next time.

Some of the cleaning items are homemade in our family, like the foaming soap, window cleaner and floor wash. This has helped from when the boys were young that I’m happy for them to be squirt happy cleaning the family table and the bathroom mirrors without worrying about the strong fumes and product getting on them.

I have all the bottles in one place. Instead of just refilling out of sight, I try to ask one of the boys to help me make up the solution when the bottle is getting low.

We get all the ingredients and fill up the foaming soap. So they know where it comes from. It doesn’t magically appear. There’s time to ask questions and talk about each part. A little science experimenting often happens too.

We mix up the recipe below. The best way we’ve found is to add the water first just below the line on the bottle, then add all the extras. But that’s not fun! So we usually add the ingredients first and slowly add the water to the line, trying to see if we can do it without getting foam everywhere… Ah a bit of science fun and mess. Just what the boys love! Besides soapy fun is an easy clean up over a sink!  :)

foaming soap recipe

Foaming soap recipe

Squirt of Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap about 2 tablespoons ( adjust as needed for your water soft/hardness)

1 Tbsp of avocado oil ( for softness)

5 -10 drops of tea tree oil

4-5 drops of orange or grapefruit essential oil

1-2 drops of spearmint oil


Fill the empty soap dispenser with half the water.

Add your fillings; the soap, oil and essential oil(s).

Fill up the rest of the dispenser with water to the line.

Secure the lid over the sink so it’s firmly in place.

Tip the bottle gently up and down. You will see the ingredients, especially the avocado oil separate. Don’t worry. Tip up and down before use.

There are so many things we can just get on and do quickly as parents in our home. We rob the children of learning to care for their home when we do it all and it’s just always there done. There’s an opportunity missed to work with them to refill and make up a solution that we all use. Time spent together doing something fun practical and useful that contributes not just to them but to the whole family. Eventually they’ll start refilling themselves.

 Series recap

  1. Peaceful solutions to minimize family strife

  2. Peaceful Solutions to Minimize Family Strife with Specific Solutions

  3. Peaceful Solutions to Minimize Family Strife with the right place

  4. Peaceful Solutions to Minimize Family Strife – when you know how


For other ways to work on your family atmosphere and family flow subscribe to my podcast; Raising Playful Tots on iTunes or Stitcher.



Peaceful Solutions to Minimize Family Strife with the right place

Peaceful solutions to minimize family strife

In  part 1 Peaceful solutions to minimize family strife there are some ideas for getting things done the by teaching and reteaching, often.

Many times we apply blanket solutions to problems but maybe this time we need to look in more detail at this child and this place:Peaceful Solutions to Minimize Family Strife with Specific Solutions was part 2.

We can find things if we know where they live. Everything has a home.

3 Where does it live?

There are no magic clean up fairies that live in our house permanently. One or two fly in every now and again, muttering quietly to themselves as they return books, toys, pens, LEGO, paper back to the right place.

We’d gotten lazy with reminding the boys to clean up and clear up so here we had a rod for our own back. Everyone needs to know where everything goes back and…..where to find the replacements!  The replacements that magically appear don’t train the children to replace things themselves.

We can find things if we know where they live. Everything has a home

One way I like to share to make this relevant is when family, friends or guests come to stay. When the children can refill the liquid soap, find the extra toothbrushes, stock up on the toilet roll, know where the replacement batteries are for the clock radio. They are joining in with getting the home ready for the new guest.

Have a game with your children and collect a few things like toilet roll, kitchen roll, extra tube/can of something you always have a spare of., cereal box, pens, backpack etc things that are kid related and well used. Ask the question, ” Where does XXX live?” This one question really helps because those that don’t know will do and when they live it out you can ask the question as a reminder to put it away.

Much time is lost when we are searching for things. If only they were put back. Much time is lost when only certain people know where the extras or replacements are kept.  As part of a peaceful home we all need to be able to function when some of us or all of us our here.

Start with writing a list of where you have things. Here’s one I did for our family.

Questions to ask yourself- Does everyone in the family know these answers?

  1. Where do I get the blank paper to draw/write on?
  2. Which paper is for the printer only?
  3. Where does the construction paper live?
  4. Where does the crayons and coloring things live?
  5. Where are the extra toilet rolls, kitchen towels, napkins etc kept?
  6. Where does the washing machine soaps and detergents live?
  7. Where are the cleaning products and what to do if they are running/run out?
  8. Where do papers go that come in from school?
  9. Where do shoes and boots live?
  10. Where do the coats live?
  11. Where do the musical instruments and sports equipment live?
  12. Where do I leave my bike and other outdoor games and toys?
  13. Where does the tape, envelopes, string, scissors, glue live?
  14. Where do the pencils and pens live?

The final part of where does this live after the family can find, replace and use these items is finding a way to know when they are almost finished or finished.  With multiple people refilling and replacing we often rely on someone else to say that it’s almost done or assume that everyone knows you finished the last part.

Also talking about leaving an area as you found it or better. As part of his contribution, he needed to replace the toilet rolls. But if that means opening a new package and leaving the empty bags on the floor it’s only a partial solution. We need to remain vigilant to teach the whole sequence including tidying up and reporting back.

This is the third part of the series : Peaceful solutions to minimize family strife.

Find the second part : Peaceful Solutions to Minimize Family Strife with Specific Solutions

Part 4: Peaceful Solutions to Minimize Family Strife – when you know how


What are you simplifying for a peaceful solution at home?

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