I am sort of a mixed bag. I love to be adventurous. I love to be out and about, traveling, meeting new people, and exploring new places with friends. I also love a quiet home. When Jay and I got married and we moved in together, I quickly realized that he loves that fast pace both outside the home and inside. Normal adaptation has led us to make some adjustments to accommodate our lives. Mostly, I grumble when we talks before 8 am…he lets me off the hook for grumbling.
Now that we have had a child we have made more adjustments in our lives, greater than we could have even imagined. Next month we are moving out of the downtown area. It will be the first time in 10 years that I haven’t lived in a big city. That will be a change. We did it for our girl’s future education but it came at a cost. With that move, other things certainly change, too. We will be in a new home, one that we can decorate and structure to fit our needs. For me, the most practical need is peace. Peace in a household is a necessity, for my baby, and for my well-being.
So let’s get to the tips!
- Structure furniture and play areas for engagement, not media. This reminds me of this line from Friends where Joey meets a women who doesn’t have a TV and asks “You don’t own a TV? What’s all your furniture pointed at?” Funny because it is true. True that Americans prioritize viewing television as a basic function in home-life. Changing how we organize furniture from engaging with media to engaging with each other can create quiet without any action. Making a fireplace a focal point can make the home feel quieter. And if you must, making TV and a fireplace the two focal points with equal balance can help to keep the TV engagement regulated.
- Create a safe area for self-directed play. Trying to mitigate the technology take-over of the house can be really hard. Mostly because iPads and TVs help parents babysit. Research shows that TV damages a child’s instinct for discovery and self-directed play. Not only is increased TV viewing linked to shorter attention spans, but TV viewing encourages the need to be entertained as opposed to self-discovery.(Same goes for tablets, phones, and all other screens.) With TV off, it is time to make sure that the environment is safe. Put up gates where stairs can be an obstacle. Block off rooms where there might be dangerous equipment or furniture. Outlet covers, cabinet safety clips, and other small measures will help your baby be and feel safe and secure while staying busy.
- Try to limit stimulation by creating structure and keeping the house clean. I know this feels really hard. It is especially hard to keep a place orderly when not everything you own has a “place.” Consider creating an environment where toys have a home, where clothes have a home, and where dishes have a home makes it easier to keep order and reduce over-stimulation. THIS DOES NOT MEAN KEEPING THE ROOM CLEAN IS THE GREATEST PRIORITY! Often play creates a mess and promotes creativity. Let that evolve, put peace happens when things can be put in their place.
- Zone your home. It is not a bad thing to have places where kids are and kids are not. Making rules for kids regarding where they can play and be free versus where they ought not be will help them to feel security in their decision-making and teach them a valuable lesson. I believe that bathrooms are for the solitary person. I am not into letting my kid come in there. I also am not into my husband coming in either. It is one place in our home where I get some peace. I can take a shower, or get ready in the morning…alone. I’m trying to teach our child that you don’t follow mommy into every room. Jay and I want her to know where she can be and where she cannot be, simple as that. Some people like to keep their bedroom kid-free…makes sense to me!….Zoning creates peaceful pockets within a crazy home.
- Try to mitigate the effects of transition times. I know from experience that transitioning my baby from day care to my house in the evening is not easy for her. She goes from a high stimulation environment with other kids to a low stimulation environment (the backseat of my car) while we drive home. This takes a toll every day. She cries and screams. I try not to over-stimulate her while she is making that transition. I find that I go through the same thing going from work to my home. I need time to decompress from being polite and outgoing to introverted and tuned out. I need time to recover, so I can see in kids that they are challenged the same way. I try to delay dinner time so that we can all recover without expecting high engagement. Try to empathize with kids when they are being directed sternly in a transitional time.
How do you do it? Do you have a peaceful home? Do you try to keep media out and self-directed play a priority? How do you do it??? Let me know by commenting or contacting me!