Home should be a place that makes us feel safe. It’s the place we come back to after a long day spent with others who demand a lot from us. Home is where we get respite from that, to finally unwind and relax and be ourselves. And most importantly, it’s where we get to spend time around the people we love most—our family. Sometimes the time we spend around our loved ones can somehow make a home feel less than calm. It’s only natural for family members to drive one another crazy sometimes. But what if we could intentionally create a home that instills precisely the kind of good energy you crave?
The Family Agreement
Families should create an “agreement,” defining how they want to feel at home and what they can each do to promote this kind of atmosphere. Get together during dinner when everyone is present and talk through the following questions: How do we want to feel as a family? Consider words like calm, happy, playful, or loved. Each family member should commit to building this goal. The point of the agreement is to make sure everyone’s emotional needs are being recognized and prioritized. The agreement is also a great way to bring your resentments and grievance to light and empower each member in the family to feel seen, heard, and valued.
The other more significant benefit of the agreement is that it makes it reasonable for a family to talk about their emotions with each other. Among younger kids, research shows that being mindful can improve their self-regulation skills, attention, and social competency, among so many other benefits. The agreement encourages everyone in the family—both parents and kids—to be actively conscious of their emotional state and how it might be affecting other people in the family. Getting comfortable talking about emotions as a family can only benefit everyone in the household.