A family household that feels most like home is one where respect, civility, and kindness reside. It is the springboard for positive relationships with others.
When you create this type of environment, you provide a place of comfort for anyone who enters. And you are giving your children a foundation of admirable habits they will use to inspire and uplift everyone they encounter.
The most important characteristics in any harmonious family household are tolerance and respect. This includes respect for the personal space of others, everyone's belongings, and also for your home itself.
When you knock before opening the closed door of a room, you show people you respect the space they occupy. Personal space is important to each of us. And, once in a while, we need to feel we can have it all to ourselves. Especially after a busy and stressful day. And these days when many are working from home or are isolated from others, respect for what has become common space offers a great learning challenge.
Give a little knock on the door and ask if you can come in or, "Do you have a moment?" before you enter a room.
Respect your belongings and those of your family members by using and storing them appropriately. Return borrowed items in the same condition you borrowed them (you did ask permission to borrow, right?).
Picking up after yourself is a number one essential, especially when common space has expanded and privacy feels hard to find. Hang or fold your clothes and put them away. Keep furniture and appliances clean. Properly use and store your computer and other electronic items. You might even make your bed!
No, it's not about being a neat freak. It's about keeping things in good working condition, and respecting your surroundings. When you show respect, you get respect.
Any family household that teaches and practices civil courtesies produces confident and kind individuals. The most basic of these courtesies are the magic words of "please" and "thank you" at every opportunity.
Being present with your family lets them know how important they are. Rather than simply being in the same room, turn off the television, put down your smartphone, remove the ear buds, and spend quality time with each other. Have a conversation and truly listen with acceptance and an open mind to what is said. This is the best way to get to know your family members as individuals.
When there are a lot of us in one home, just as important as spending quality time together is acknowledging that everyone needs alone time, too.
Keep everyone included in the general plans. Sometimes the kindest thing we can do is to let others know what the day’s plan looks like for all family members. End of the day wrap-ups are inclusive as well, even if that means you’ve spent most of the time in your room doing homework or projects. Taking the time to say, “Good night” reinforces the feeling of “We’re a family and we respect one another.”
Shower your family with kindness. Celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and any other occasion to the degree that you can. Shower kindness and courtesies when others are disappointed or feel let down. Be there for one another.
Sounds like a great place to live, doesn't it?
Home is where you practice the social skills that you take out into the world. By creating a comfortable and courteous home life, you will also create confident, cordial human beings who have much to contribute to everyone they meet in the future.