By Alyssa Massaro
Our home is where we spend most of our time with our family and friends. It serves as our living space and hosting spot for parties and welcome visitors. A home holds much sentimental value for us as we’ve watched our children grow older within its walls and formed countless memories.
Our environment hugely impacts our relationships with others and our general state of well-being. The home especially influences the emotions, temperament, and sense of security of developing children. It is important to invest time and energy into making your home a place that your children feel comfortable in. We can appeal to all of our senses by filling our home with soothing visuals, sounds, scents, and materials.
So what are some easy ways we can foster a more positive environment at home?
Stay Organized. Is your home harmonious or a chaotic mess? Do your family members enjoy spending time at home or does your home feel so cluttered and congested that it is emotionally draining for all? For most, an organized space feels lighter, more peaceful, and helps us think more clearly. This is especially important if your home also serves as your workspace. Clearing out these unnecessary distractions and clutter will help you regain a sense of control and boost productivity.
Fill your home with more natural things. A small plant, a flower pot, an aquarium tank, or a small fishbowl will suffice to get the natural energy flowing in your home! Studies show that simply looking at a flower makes people feel more uplifted and soothed. Symbolic representations of nature, as in paintings, embroidery, or other home furnishings may also do the trick! For a greater appeal to our sense of sight, smell, and touch, it is best to place living, growing things in your home. This may also boost your child’s curiosity and interest in learning about our natural ecosystem!
Play music. Choose a style of music to set the mood for your home. Your choice of a jazzy, dynamic beat or a soothing natural track will shape the essence and aura of your home. While music can be distracting to some depending on its tempo and complexity, studies show that playing soft background music can improve concentration. Playing an instrumental piece may especially help active children, enabling them to clear their minds and better focus on a singular learning task.
Alter your lighting environment. Grab some candles to boost the ambience in your home and add a fragrant touch. Make sure you have some well-lit spaces in your home to allow for sufficient lighting to work, study, and relax. Wherever possible it is beneficial to allow natural light to filter through. While dark, heavy window treatments can make a space appear small and confined, a lighter, brightly colored window covering can make a room appear more spacious and provide shade when needed without stifling natural light. It is best to choose window treatments that can be pinned back or pulled away, such as curtains and light drapery as opposed to blinds which are difficult to remove (and harder to clean).
Encourage learning and creativity. According to a study examining the influence of home environment on learning, “home environment is more highly predictive of children’s academic achievement than measures of SES [socioeconomic status] such as parental education and income.” In addition, children who come from homes where academic development is valued, encouraged, and nourished demonstrate higher language abilities. Therefore, celebrate your child’s achievements and success in different areas! Post your child’s “A” test somewhere visible (e.g. fridge, bulletin board) as a reminder of his hard work and accomplishment. Hang your children’s artwork on the wall to encourage their artistic interests and show how much you value their effort.
Place things in your home that are appealing to your child’s interests, hobbies, or cultural background. Display learning tools around your home where they can be seen. For example, you might consider putting books on a shelf where they are easily accessible or putting together an arts-and-crafts bin to appeal to your child’s creative drive.
Make sure that there is a designated learning space in your home for children. We naturally associate different spaces with a defined function so the kitchen or living room might not be the best spot for homework or teaching lessons. Instead, find a quiet space in your home that is typically free of high social activity and stimulating noises or visuals (e.g. no television or loud chattering) and set up a private workspace as your child’s go-to learning spot.
Cultivate gratefulness and self-worth. Studies show that grateful people are happier people. Good health, exemplary performance at work/school, a winning sporting match – these are all things to be grateful for! Journaling or writing down the things you are grateful for on a daily or weekly basis is a fun activity to do as a family or individually. Write them down in a list, on post-it notes, or in a diary form – whichever way you feel most comfortable. You might also do this verbally within family discussions or in conversation. No achievement is too small or insignificant to be celebrated. Maybe your child has been doing a great job of listening and being obedient, thank him! Maybe your husband has been lending a hand around the house, show him your appreciation and that you noticed!
Most importantly, remember to celebrate each member of your family uniquely and with intention. Everyone benefits when a healthy self-esteem is encouraged and children are reminded daily that they are loved, wanted, and cherished. Post inspiring quotes, bible verses or memorable photos on a wall space as encouragement to remain optimistic and thankful.
We want to know – are there any ideas you have implemented to help make your home feel more positive?