Family flow are the things that keep your family moving. Typically we focus on routines like the morning run or contributions. These are places where we get stuck and instead of flowing there’s a problem. With families the earlier you can start working on your family flow the easier it is as they get older. Bad habits are hard to break. Often if you think of some of the things that are bugging you about your family atmosphere it’s likely that there’s a family flow problem.
For a more peaceful family home we need to work together as a family. This can’t come from just one direction. Here are four ways we can tighten up our family flows.
Devise systems so you’re not reteaching the same thing many times. Many of the things we get frustrated with as parents are to do with children not knowing the system ( or doing the system!) Systems seem so boring but it gives the chance to master something when we have a way that we do it. We all have our things; how to hang clothes/fold into draws.
As a military spouse I know that my partner deploys and work commitments may take him out of the home for extended periods of time. Many families have this same situation with spouses who travel for work or shift workers.
We need to know how to do everything. We may split things up when our partner is home but we need to know how to do when they are away. The same for the kids. Whether you’re a girl or boy you need to know how to do laundry and notice when the idle is playing up on the car. ( well maybe not the idle just yet but you get my point) Contributions are great but not if you’re stuck with the same one for life. Everyone needs to have a chance to learn how to do each thing.
Guard freetime & downtime.
We all need the break but here is where we steal time to fit a few things in. It might mean scheduling free time on your calendar to make sure it doesn’t get squeezed. Maybe you need to leave the house, hike, meet other families to get your freetime. Nothing planned. No directing. Letting the passions bubble up and creativity ooze. We need the break.
Come together in laughter and expression
Share the problems with the family and you’ll be amazed at the solutions that come. We have a springy laundry basket, great for flattening to take in a suitcase. The boys hurl their laundry at it. Laundry is draped over it, falling out of it and because it’s not strong sided it regularly tips over after the launch of a pair of jeans comes its way. I felt I was the only one picking everything up. It was a frustration. I knew the boys were pitching and walking and not looking at the basket. I asked one of the boys, I have no idea why I asked, but I’m glad I did, ” What would you do if you saw this ( pointing at the disaster of the laundry basket!)? How would you fix it?” So sweetly he said, “I’ll do it.” Taking this to our family roundtable would be the next best thing to find some solutions that work too.
Retelling funny stories and incidents from your day or bringing back up fun times from the past is a great way to unite a family. All too often family roundtables and dinner is hijacked by something negative that’s happened in school, home or life. We have to parent. I get it but we must also seek out- draw out the positive funnies too. We love sharing the latest corny joke, made up joke- that’s not quite funny, sniggering over the Confessions podcast, retelling favourite scenes. We want times of laughter and expressions of frustration to be blended into the family instead of weighted heavily in either direction.
Bringing together a regular routine of systems, routines, guarding freetime and allowing for a blend of laughter and expression gives the family a chance to experience the ebb and flow of life. We have more time to do things together and apart because one member of the family isn’t doing it all. We learn to work, laugh and support each other as family. We learn our place. How important we are to the family.
Once you learn how to do things after following the instructions you’re free to go off course, try new things and play about with the current model. Family flows don’t need to be regimented and militant in execution ,at all. They do give a warm and cosy direction for the kids to follow instead of the usual game of guess what mummy and daddy want me to do and how they want me to do it.
Our family atmosphere is dramatically better when we’ve looked into some of our family flows and made the adjustments we need for our family. How about your family?