Our families are our everything. They keep us going each and every day and we work hard to keep our home ticking over like clockwork. We want our children to feel safe, secure and loved and know that they are the center of our world. It can sometimes feel so difficult to balance everything, especially as a single parent, but when we know that our family is happy, the juggling act is entirely worth it. So what is this key to success? Well, here we are sharing our thoughts on the essential ingredients for a happy family life, do let us know what you think.
This one is key, isn’t it? If you are looking for a harmonious home, you will need to all be communicating with each other openly and honestly. This means on the small things as well as the big things.
Take the time to have family meetings if you are in a busy household so that everybody gets their say in important decisions. Make the time to chat to each of your children on a one to one basis regularly, they should feel that they have time dedicated just to them and it gives them a chance to really open up to you.
Take holidays together
Whether you are jetting off to Walt Disney World or setting up camp in the hills for a few days, be the family that takes holidays together. Having new experiences like this together is wonderful for you all, and the quality time that holidays offer us are just priceless. Think back over your childhood and the chances are that some holiday memories will come into your mind, so do help to make those memories now with your family.
The question of what to do and where to go should be put to everyone so that you are all excited about the trip. It might be that you go back to the same place regularly and create something of a tradition by doing so, or you might pledge to try a new adventure every year together which could make for some adrenaline-filled times! Wherever you decide to go, be completely present in those moments, and where possible, leave behind any work or daily stresses.
Eat at least one meal a day together
With busy family life, this one can be a hard one, but we promise you that it is worth the effort as some experts have suggested that this one is key. It links back to the communication point that we made earlier, as family mealtimes are a good time to have a chat and find out what’s happening with everyone. Take the time to ask everyone to share something good that’s happened that day and perhaps talk through any disappointments. Share stories and highlights and laugh over anecdotes. Research has found that children who eat with their family are likely to be less stressed and have better relationships with their parents than those who don’t.
Know when you need to say sorry
There will be times when there are arguments and conflict, it’s perfectly normal. It’s also healthy to air any grievances and talk issues through. It is then important that every member of the family knows when to apologize and feels comfortable doing so. No-one is right all of the time and we all have bad days, but you can be compounding a problem further if you don’t have the good grace to say sorry. Everyone in the family should be able to do this and be sincere when doing so.
Children are brilliant at playing, it comes naturally to them. As adults, we have sometimes lost this skill somewhere along the way, but don’t worry, it will come back as you start to play. Your kids will love it if you spend some time playing with them, whatever games suit you best or that they are asking to play. You might be the queen of board games so rummage through that games cupboard and set up a family games night. Or perhaps your kids love playing tennis, so grab that racket and get outside with them. Whether you are blowing bubbles, building Lego or posing Barbie, it will all be great fun for your children and it will build some wonderful memories for them.
Read with your children daily, read aloud as a family and share fun stories, snuggle down for a bedtime story with them. Make stories come to life by using all of the voices and throwing yourself into it, it makes it more fun for you as well as the kids! Bedtime storytime, in particular, is a magical time to spend with your kids, and extremely beneficial to them educationally as well as emotionally. Do make every effort to make the time for it, even if it’s just five minutes, it will certainly be time well spent.
A role for everyone
In every household, every person who is old enough to should have a role. It might be that they have chores that they are responsible for, or their school work might come first but then they need to look out for younger siblings, or perhaps they are the chief gardener and they ensure that the backyard is always looking good. You will be able to think about who does what in your home and then consider who might really thrive with some extra responsibility and a new role. You will be surprised how well kids take to greater levels of responsibility and rise to the challenge.
Getting everyone to fulfill a role in your home should take the pressure away from just one person, creating a more harmonious atmosphere, and it should mean that all family members feel equally important and invested in their home. You will feel like you are all pulling together as a team, just as a family should feel.
Keep working on your dreams
Whether you are looking to get a new job, start up your own Etsy business, advance your career by making a move from BSN to nurse practitioner or write your first novel, your dream is still your dream. It can be so easy to throw yourself fully into the lives of your children and overlook your own potential. It can often feel like a never-ending treadmill with very little time to even look up, let alone get off. It’s never too late to go for something new or advance your career, so do not give up on your dreams. Not only will they make you very happy, but just think of the example that you will be setting your children if they can see that mom is still striving for more and succeeding.
Create your own traditions
These can be annual events or weekly outings, it really doesn’t matter, but it is fun creating your own family traditions together. Everyone should get involved in helping to make them and then keep them. It might be that every Friday night is family movie night in your home, a date that you all look forward to throughout the week. Or perhaps once a month you all take a hike up in the mountains, get away from technology and gadgets for a few hours and all switch off. Whatever you go for, it will be great for family bonding.
Everybody has their say
We know that there are many decisions that are better made, or necessarily made, by you. Boundaries need to be set for your children to help them and support them in life. However, there are also decisions that can be made by them, or that they can have input into at the very least. Encouraging everybody to have their say is empowering for your children and it is teaching them valuable lessons as they develop decision-making capabilities. They will learn that they are valuable members of your family and are able to come up with some great suggestions and ideas. You will also find that as decisions are mutual, everybody buys into them fully and gives them their backing. So much easier!
Take time out, just for you
Your children are likely to have lots going on in their lives, from school to extracurricular activities and their social lives. It can be easy to fall into the trap of living your life around theirs, as you ensure that they have all that they need and ferry them around everywhere. As a single parent, this can be especially tough as you feel it falling to you all the time. But it is so important that you still take the time to do things for yourself as this will ensure that you are happier and fulfilled yourself, and not running on empty. You are going to bring more to the table as a satisfied parent than you can when you are running around looking after everyone else. This is not at all selfish, this is simply caring about yourself and your family will reap the rewards too.