16 Ways to Make Your Home More Peaceful

My family is a family of intense people. We are all high strung, type-A, I-must-have-my-life-planned-to-the-nano-second-or-else-I-feel-totally-out-of-control kinds of people.

There’s no doubt we are at least partially wired this way from birth. It’s like my kids came out of the womb freshly bathed in this personality type. Then we’ve wrapped them in a towel of type-A environment, and voila! We have a house of intense people.

Intensity itself isn’t necessarily bad, but when intensity manifests itself in negative ways that lead to a less peaceful home, it creates a barrier to Christian living. Negative intensity masks the opportunities for spiritual development.

I’d like to bring our family’s collective intensity down a bit, so I’ve been looking for ways to make our home more peaceful. Here are 16 things you can consider for your own home that are making a peaceful difference in ours!

1.    Get up early enough that you have the time to put yourself together.

I have gotten in a bad habit of not drying my hair each day due to lack of time. It actually makes me cranky all morning because I subconsciously feel disheveled. Crankiness leads to negative intensity. Something as simple as drying your hair can actually make a difference in your ability to set the tone for a peaceful home each morning.

 

2.    Don’t go online before you get ready for the day.

Wow. I just started doing this and I feel like I’ve found a pot of gold. I was sleeping with my iPad next to my bed and the first thing I would do each day was check email and go on Facebook. I would get overwhelmed, annoyed, or overly engrossed in what was there. By the time I got to my kids’ rooms, my head was already in multiple places.

Disheveled hair + online obsessing before 7 am = morning intensity!

 

3.    Don’t even have electronics in your room.

I compulsively want to grab my iPad or phone if they are there, so they both had to be officially expelled from my room to prevent the temptation (in support of number 2 above). When I wake up feeling like the rest of the world – a giant hub of activity – is an arm’s length away, I already feel stressed. I need to feel like I’m in a peaceful little den removed from the world when I wake up.

 

4.    Pray before you leave your room each morning.

I simply can’t create a more peaceful home without God’s help. Before I even attempt to step foot past my bedroom door, I’ve learned I have to pray. I have to ask God for wisdom and perspective to be personally at peace and to create a more peaceful home. This doesn’t mean I have one hand on the door knob while blurting out, “Lord, help me be peaceful!” then dashing down the hall. I either pray before I get out of bed or pray in the shower so I’m truly focused on God.

 

5.    Do everything in your power to not be in a rush.

When I’m in a rush, everything the kids do frustrates me, and then the intensity level rises for everyone. If we are running late on the way to school and someone isn’t getting their seat belt on quickly, it becomes a big deal. If we are just driving to the park on a lazy Saturday, I simply help them do it. Same problem, different reactions, with the only variable being how late we are. I’m doing everything I can now to prioritize not being rushed because it inevitably leads to negative intensity.

 

6.    When you ARE running late, think about the size of the universe.

I’m totally serious. This is what I’ve been doing. And it works. The other morning, we were doing great on time getting ready for school and were about to head out the door. I smelled something bad and after some investigation found that Nathan needed to be completely changed after what appeared to be an unusual potty disaster. By the time we were driving, I knew we would be late for school. Rather than stress about it, I started focusing on how insignificant being 10 minutes late to school is in the scope of the universe and how tiny we are. It puts it all in perspective. Check this out to help with your visualization! http://scaleofuniverse.com/

 

7.    At least temporarily, suspend the rules that lead to greatest conflict.

This isn’t always possible, as some household rules are too critical to be relaxed, but try to evaluate just how important the rules are that lead to greatest conflict. As one example, I was constantly battling my kids over their need to ask to be excused from the table. A lot of times they just forget it’s a rule and get up without thinking about it. Instead of time outs, I just ask them to get back in their seats. It’s not worth fighting over.

 

8.    At least temporarily, stop bugging your kids about things that are simply annoying but not harmful.

Kenna has started picking at her nails and toes. This drives me crazy. I was also driving HER crazy by reminding her not to do it 20 times per day. Each time she would get annoyed and I would subsequently get annoyed by her response, leading to frequent discipline. I’ve stopped bugging her about it and it’s cut out a lot of unnecessary negative interactions.

 

9.    Help your kids “save face” when they mess up.

After discipline has occurred, there’s often an aftermath of negative feelings. Parents are still annoyed by or frustrated at their kids, and kids are still upset they were in trouble. I read in a parenting book once that it’s important to help your kids “save face” after they’ve gotten in trouble by showing that YOU have moved on. I don’t know if I’ve ever read anything more helpful in terms of making a practical difference in my parenting. After discipline I go the extra length to clear the air by doing something funny, quickly changing topics, or chasing them around. This works wonders. It immediately breaks the ice to go on with your day in peace.

 

10.  Don’t rise to the intensity level of your kids.

I think we all know we shouldn’t rise to the intensity level of our kids when they are upset. It’s just hard to do it. So this is really only a reminder. Refer back to number 6 for a possible solution. J

 

11.  Don’t be surprised by misbehavior.

I expect perfection by nature. When you fail against my perfect standards, that “surprise” can lead to unnecessary disappointment and/or intensity. This might sound bad, but the more I expect my kids to fail, the less intense I get when they do. It doesn’t mean I want them to fail or that I think they are failures. It simply means I am gaining a more realistic view of the human sin nature and have gained perspective accordingly.

 

12.  Remove the intensity from the room.

When one child is intensely freaking out, it creates intensity with the other kids almost immediately. I’ve started sending my kids to their room much more than to the corner for this reason. They stay there until they are calm, then they can return to be with the family.

 

13.  Pray more frequently with your family.

Every single time we pray together, peace truly comes over our home! When there is a lot of intensity going on, stop everything. Gather the family. Sit down and ask God to bring peace to your day! That might sound difficult. Just try it. Really. God works through it.

 

14.  Stop multi-tasking.

Like many women, I am proud of my ability to multi-task. While Bryan is only able to focus on pouring a cup of coffee, I can proudly pour coffee, take a turn in Candyland, read my email, and issue a time out at the same time. The problem is that I get easily annoyed with the kids (or Bryan) when my mind is scattered. I’m doing my best to focus my mind and do one thing at a time so I don’t get frustrated due to my own distractions.

 

15.  Don’t go to bed before you look at the things you need to do the next day.

If I wake up in the morning not having thought through everything I need to get done that day, I’m busy sorting those tasks out in my head all morning. Before your head hits the pillow, make sure you know exactly what you need to get done the next day.

 

16. Read the Bible daily.

This isn’t last because it is last in importance. It’s only last because I do it last in my day. I read one chapter per night.  To really embrace God’s Word each day is to embrace the peace that comes from a maturing faith and deepening relationship with God. The Bible isn’t a mere “Chicken Soup for the Soul” – it’s life-giving, peace-giving truth that should transform your perspective daily.


How about you? What things have you found to make your home more peaceful?

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Comments

  1. LOL! Natasha, you and I could be the best of friends! I swear I nodded my head knowingly with every point you made here. This is wonderful advice. The only way we’re different is that my Bible/God time comes first thing in the morning before the family wakes up. Otherwise it won’t happen at all, not even before bed. I fall asleep every time I start to read late at night.

    Electronics in the room. My iPhone sits on a stool right next to my side of the bed, within grabbing distance. I check it before I close my eyes at night and very first thing as I’m rolling out bed to go have my time with God each morning. It sits in my back pocket throughout the day too. I need to break free from technology. One of my goals is to set a Writer Work Schedule so I can avoid this problem in the future. Although I recognize that will be extremely difficult since my personal stuff is handled on that phone as well.

    Don’t rise to the intensity level of your kids? I’m raising my hand over here. Can I just tell you I revert to 3 year old very easily when provoked by my children. I wonder if they notice? Lol!

    My kids are SO smart I’m often shocked by misbehavior. How dare they act their age! :-)

    Seriously, these are all great tips. I would just love to have a cup of coffee with you one day!

    • Rosann, Getting a cup of coffee would be great! :) If you are ever in Southern California, let me know!
      I think a lot of us are guilty about technology obsession especially. Try keeping your phone out of your room and you’ll experience much more sanity! It’s crazy what a difference it makes. I’ve tried to set a writing schedule like you’re saying but I just can’t stick to it. I’d love to know if you find one that works!

  2. Shawna Fay says:

    Great read! I find myself guilty of several of these! I think I’m on the border of being type A, I get very irritable if my house is in disarray and with kids it’s just not possible to have a perfectly ordered home all day everyday. Things take priority over cleaning up and then I’m frustrated.

  3. Thank you for these reminders! I could print it out and put it on my wall, so important it actually is.
    (She says at 05:38 AM, first having checked her mail on the phone ;-)

  4. Kirsten Kohl says:

    This morning I blow dried my hair for the first time in a week!

  5. Yes! So true! I haven’t put my list on paper, but you hit a lot of them on the head! The biggest one for me is getting up earlier. I get up so that I can be ready and out of everyone else’s way before they start getting up. This one thing made a huge impact on how our mornings go! Now, on Sundays, I even have time to make a pretty nice breakfast for us to have together as a family!

  6. Natasha: So glad I found you on Christian Mommy Blogger. This is exactly the post I needed to read right now. I was literally writing in my personal/devotional journal tonight that I needed to limit my “screen time,” especially my obsession with going online first thing in the morning. The result is much as you’ve described: I end up harried and scattered and it’s 7:30 and time to wake the kids for school, and I have not even dressed, let alone packed lunches, prayed, read the Bible, or even had a cup of tea. The result? I start out in the hole and often never manage to dig myself out of it!

  7. Thank you! I knew most of these are what I needed to do, but I needed someone else to put into words.

  8. This is wonderful. Thanks for some very practical and realistic steps toward bringing peace into the home! I found you because I was Googling for ways to create a more peaceful atmosphere around here; I was thinking of decorating tips, but your brand of INTERIOR decorating is better. :) Also, we love the scale of the universe site. Blessings to you!

  9. Couldn’t agree more! Seems like I’ve finally found someone who knows what it’s like to be me. Thanks and will try to follow all the points.

  10. I too was googling for ways to crate a peaceful home and came upon your blog. So many great ideas! I’m really bad at self-discipline and getting things done around the house and this weekend God showed me how I can be a peacemaker in my own home by reassigning the reason I’m doing the mundane tasks: I’m not doing dishes because I have to, but because a tidy kitchen creates a peaceful place to work. (and it invites my husband to help with meals!) I don’t want to begrudgingly do laundry, but I know having full drawers of clean clothes makes getting my kids dressed in the morning a more peaceful process. I know I struggle with snacks/sweets, so instead of just saying I can’t have them, I am recognizing that eating them will not promote peace in my body. These new realizations have just been over the last few days so they’re still in the baby steps of being applied, but I’m excited to get them implemented!
    Then other big epiphany I had this weekend was choosing God’s purpose over His/my plans. It’s not about the task, it’s about how God can and will use my obedience and resulted outcomes of those tasks. Again, it’s not clean dishes or done laundry He’s after, it’s a peaceful home and training my kids self-discipline. I am finding myself asking “how can this activity promote peace in my home? or WILL it? (mainly screen time!) So how much energy will I invest in it?”
    Thank you for your encouraging ideas!

  11. Thanks Natasha. I am a perfectionist and that’s the expectation I keep from everybody at home. Hopefully things will change. I’ll get back to you each week with my progress.

  12. Natasha-

    Wow – great post! I know that it’s a couple of years old and yet here it is sprinkling greatness on new people like me who accidentally stumbled onto you!

    I love everything you wrote…it all makes GREAT sense and, while I’m implementing a lot of your 16, certainly there are some new ideas for me to consider adding into my household.

    You asked what I’ve found to help with a more peaceful household? The Nurtured Heart Approach…it’s truly transformational and right in line with a Christian way of living. Check it out and God bless!

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