Today there are many families that both parents work outside the home or single parent headed families and with this, can come chaos after work. Do you find things to be hectic, perhaps even frantic, at the end of the workday? When you get home, dinner needs to be prepared, homework needs to be done and have a million other things on your mind. Your young child is whining and wants your attention, right now. Your teenager has something important to talk to you about. What can you do to help things go more smoothly?
If your children are young, remember that a set routine usually works best for them. If you can take 10 or 15 minutes to spend with your child as soon as you get home, your evening may go better. You can talk together, take a brief walk, or read a short story.
If you live with a teenager, consistency is also important. Spending some time together in the kitchen may allow you to talk together as you work on dinner. Teenagers can help prepare dinner along with you or set the table while you catch up on their day.
With children have easy access to technology (cell phones, I pad’s computer gaming and internet), it is often easy to lose that face to face communication. Try to limit screen and phone time for a period when the family is home or having a meal.
Life around your home can be made easier by getting your children to help with household chores. It is also a good way for them to learn some of the skills necessary to be independent. Young children can set the table, unload the dishwasher, clear the table after meals, sweep the floor, and put dirty clothes in a clothes hamper. Older children can start meal preparation, scrub floors and counters, do laundry, shovel snow, change beds, care for pets, etc.
As you begin to teach these skills, it does take patience – quite a bit of patience. Remember that there are more than a dozen ways to do most household tasks, and your child may discover a quicker way than you currently use.
Avoid the tendency to do the task yourself, because this seems easier than taking the time to teach your child. This denies your child the opportunity to learn basic living skills. As your children learn the new skills and know what you expect from them, things can become easier at your home. Don’t feel that you need to be a martyr and are the only one capable of doing routine household tasks.