Updated on May 17, 2013
It is 4:30 pm, I realize my husband will be home soon, a quick glance around the house reveals a not so pleasant atmosphere. Toys are strung everywhere, a basket of laundry is half folded on the dining room table and the kids are chasing each other through the house. Not exactly the environment I want to welcome him into.
When I was a young mom just starting out, I read one of Emilie Barnes’ books on how to keep a simple, orderly home. I gleaned a lot from her, one idea in particular that made a big difference in our house was to create a peaceful home for my husband to come home to.
I knew that my husband would appreciate walking into a peaceful home after being gone all day. And, it makes me feel good to have a clean, quiet home at the end of a busy day.
I found there are six steps that are helpful in creating a peaceful home:
1. Decide What Time to Start
I usually planned to start 30 minutes before my husband was due to get home. I chose 30 minutes because I could usually get a quick cleanup done in 30 minutes. It may take more time in the beginning though to get the routine down and the kids “on board”.
2. Gather the Children in One Spot
Assign them each a place to sit, with a few books to read/look at. I usually use books instead of toys because books tend to be quieter and are easier to gather up quick once the time is over. Let the children know you expect them to sit quietly looking at their books.
3. Set a Timer
Setting a timer for 30 minutes seems to really help both the kids and me. A timer helps me work faster and the kids enjoy listening for it to go off. Plus, it eliminates the need for the constant question “how much longer?”. In the beginning it may help to start with 15 minutes while the kids get used to the new routine, then work up to 30 minutes.
Once you have the kids settled, start going through the house putting everything in order or preparing dinner. If you have older kids who can be a help, assign them jobs, or they could read a book to younger siblings.
5. Keep the Peace and Quiet
Now the house is picked up and maybe dinner started but the kids’ timer has gone off, so does the house go back to chaos? Once the timer has gone off, that shouldn’t be a cue for the kids to run wild again. Let them know they still need to play quietly. You could share with them that in the Bible Ecclesiastes says there is a time for everything…a time to be silent and a time to speak. (Ecc. 3:7b); helping them understand there is a time for loud, rambunctious play and times for quiet, more reserved play.
If it’s going to be a little bit before supper is ready, you could put out a small snack for your children. This would be a nice reward for their good behavior. It can be something simple like veggies and dip or cheese and crackers. Lay out a tablecloth or flat sheet on the floor to make for an easy cleanup or use coffee filters.
Do you have a good end of the day routine? If so, I’d love to hear in the comments section.