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7 Ways to Improve Family Life Balance

 

This month’s theme is all around having stress free terms so here are 7 top tips

In today’s varying family structures managing health, relationships, time, money and stress can be a constant challenge.  Through my parenting workshops I have found many common themes amongst service users and here are my top 7 tips on achieving family life balance.  

Being prepared

It is absolutely crucial when you are leading a busy life to be super organised.  You should always think about the next day and anticipate what you may need to do.  Think of the 5, 10 or 15 rule, where depending on how pushed you are for time you should do something for 5 minutes or pick 5 objects e.g. 5 key items to iron.  

Always do what you can bear to do in bulk such as cooking, food shopping or buying presents and always write lists and stick to them!   

Truthfully think about whether your organisational skills help or hinder you.  How can they be improved?  Do you supposedly multitask but never really get anything done or are you a perfectionist and simple tasks take longer than they should?

Establish a Relaxed Routine

Yes, as boring as it sounds a routine is crucial when managing a number of priorities at the same time.  A routine helps everyone concerned as family members know what is expected of them and when. 

It is essential to establish and stick to a routine for “challenging times” as both you and your child may feel it is a battle of wills which can be an exhausting experience.  If your child is young you may want to include a dinner/bath/bed routine or for an older child you may need a homework/meal/TV/computer routine. 

Take a minute and think about how you stick to your routine (if you have one) and think about ways you can improve it.  If you don’t have a routine think about some simple steps you could take to develop one and involve the whole family when designing one.

Stick to Clear Boundaries

Boundaries are crucial for all relationships in life.  It is really important for you to communicate with your family what is acceptable and unacceptable.  This can include a variety of areas in your life such as disciplining your children, meal times, finances and keeping the house tidy. 

If people know their boundaries this can save a lot of time and stress so at meal times a child may know that as long as they eat a certain amount of food on their plate or if your child tidies their room twice a week they are respecting the boundaries.

Think about an area where you have set clear boundaries and think of whether people are aware of them, how you remind family members of them and what the consequences are of not respecting them.

Acknowledgement of Achievements

This may sound a bit weird but give it a try it really works!  Every time someone in your family does something well regardless of how small it is acknowledge it.  It can be something as simple as your child going to bed without a fuss or your partner doing the shopping and remembering to buy everything on the list.  If individuals are encouraged to behave in a positive way and that behaviour is recognised and rewarded individuals will keep repeating it. 

Take a moment and think about the last time you gave some one in your family genuine praise and recall how they responded.  What did they say and how did they look?  Think of a number of situations that arise on a daily basis where you can praise some one. 

Create a Culture of responsibility

Encourage all the members of your family to take responsibility for themselves.  When they make mistakes instead of telling them where they went wrong ask them how they could have done things differently. 

Try and make chores into games such as putting their toys away or asking children to tidy their rooms.  If your partner forgets to put their dirty clothes in the wash basket leave them there rather than constantly running after family members.   

Think about how you can create a culture of responsibility in your family, the benefits of it and how you can communicate this change with each member of your family.   

Listen out for offers of help

Always accept all offers of help!  If someone has offered you some help in terms of their time, knowledge or experience they have done so because they will gain some pleasure from it. 

Offers of help may come from partners, neighbours, friends, relatives and your children.  When you accept their offer make sure you give clear instructions on how you would like the task done e.g. if you child offers to wash your car you may not mind how it is done, however if your neighbour offers to help prune your garden you may want to have some input.

Think about how many times people have offered to help in the last week and think about how you have responded.  How could you respond differently in future? 

Me time

Last, but certainly not least it is vital to have some “me time” at least once during the day.  Running around all day is physically exhausting to say the least and makes your stress levels increase. 

Take a break for at least ten minutes and do something that you find relaxing.  Make sure you let everyone know you do not want to be disturbed and if you have young children give them something that will occupy them. 

Think about how often you allow yourself “me time”, what sorts of things do you do and how successful they are.  Do they help you recharge?

While there is no secret to having good family life balance clients have certainly found using some of the above tips make a huge difference in gaining some control over family life in a calm manner.  

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