Go back in time with me for a moment, to the very first time you moved out of your parent’s house. Think about the first time you felt alone, afraid or hurt. At that moment, what place did you long for most? For me, it was home. I felt welcomed, loved and safe at home. That was the kind of home environment my parents had created for my sisters and I growing up.
Why is it important to create a home environment that your kids would want to come back to? Because it means that even amidst all of the mistakes we make as parents our kids feel safe and protected around us. It means that the good times outweigh the bad. Most importantly, it means that they connected with us on a deeper level and read past our sometimes flawed actions to see the intent and heart behind what we did and do for them.
Here are three things you can incorporate into your routines to ensure a loving home environment:
Become their safe place
As a missionary in Mexico serving kids in children’s homes I experienced many things that broke my heart. One of them being visitation days for the kids parents. It was often one of the hardest days for some of them.
Their parents would not show up, break their promises or visit but be completely drunk (some of them were better than others though.)
Through watching the lives of these kids (and lots of training) I learned that it is very easy to create a safe environment for them. They only need food, shelter and connection. Often, the greatest barrier is the wall hurt kids put up to prevent connection. It takes time, but it can be overcome.
These three things are very basic, yet so important.
Nourish their bodies- Make nutritious meals and have snacks accessible to them for whenever they feel hungry. Do you need tips on how to do snacks the easy way? you can find some here.
Kids need to eat and drink something every two hours for their brains to function properly. This will help tremendously with meltdowns and behavior in general.
Become their shelter- The word shelter means so much more than just a place to sleep. It is related to their connection with you.
“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the All Mighty. I will say to the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:1-2
Follow God’s example as our shelter.
Make your home a place where your kids can rest, by making it welcoming and relaxing. Add blankets and pillows to your living room. Use some essential oils that will help them relax. Create a peaceful atmosphere.
Being a shelter also entails protection and trust.
Is there sarcasm present in your voice when you speak to them? Do they feel made fun of at home? These two things, even done “in love” can hurt relationships and their self-esteem.
Let them feel like they can be themselves around you and guard their hearts.
Build a connection that they will remember– Many times, we think our job as parents is to correct our kids and we forget about building a connection with them.
The best way to connect with our kids is through their love language.
One of my girls is high in physical touch for her love language and she also loves to talk. I have to make sure to cuddle with her and listen to her jibberish.
I am the opposite of her. I love silence and to cuddle with a blanket by myself. I have to remind myself that it is not about me. My connection with her comes first (I still set some time apart to get some alone time. Mostly on Sundays, our official family nap day.)
Another way to build connection is through family traditions. Traditions don’t become traditions without consistency. You have to be very intentional about it.
If you designated Wednesday for game night, make sure you clear your schedule and make it happen. Put your family time above any other activities as much as possible.
As teenagers your kids will still look forward to this time and maybe they will even start inviting their friends to it too.
I would also add one more very important ingredient to this list: Make your home Christ-centered. This topic will need it’s own blog post so look for it soon, I am working on it!
What would you add to this list? What have been some things that you remember your parents doing that have made you enjoy going back home?