The key to a peaceful home with toddlers

Up until last week a typical day for me at home with the kids consisted of running around, tackling, whining, crying and quite a few time outs … and that was just for me! 😉

This past week was a crazy week for me and I loved it. As a family we seem to have been gelling more. We’re having fun, we’re laughing, we’re just being silly. Maybe it’s the weather, maybe it’s a lack of other distractions but what I really think it is, is effort.

What I’ve changed over the past week

The biggest thing I’ve changed this past week is the effort I’ve but in. Effort into parenting, patience, being present, paying attention, laughing, understanding, and just having fun with my kids. Don’t get me wrong there was still plenty of whining and many challenges but these things didn’t take over our entire day.

We’ve been following a schedule, much like kids would at school or at a daycare. Structure … duh. I’ve always known it was important to kids but now that I’ve introduced it and I’m actually following it I GET it.

Our day

  • Wake up / Eat breakfast / Kids put dishes in the dishwasher
  • Kids do their responsibilities
  • Craft time
  • Snack time
  • Free play with toys / help get lunch ready
  • Eat lunch
  • Clean up / Play with toys
  • Get ready for quiet time
  • Done quiet time / start prepping for dinner
  • Set the table / Eat dinner / Clean up
  • Spend time with Dad
  • Ready for bed

You’ll notice there are no times next to any of these activities. That’s because the day can be rather unpredictable. Kids get sick, snow falls overnight, kids don’t wake up “on time” et cetera. There are a lot of things that can throw your whole day off and if you can learn to work with a loose schedule you’ll be much happier for it.

Responsibilities

My kids are 2 and 3 years old and to me they are still my little babies. Some might think this is too young to start introducing responsibilities (I would have agreed if I hadn’t seen my kids’ response myself). I’ve posted these 4 pictures in their room (courtesy of LivingLocurto.com – a great website by the way!) and each morning after we’ve tidied up from breakfast we read them one by one.

I can’t tell you how excited my sons get when it’s time to do their responsibilities. They are brushing their teeth, getting dressed, brushing their hair and making their own beds! Most of these things were met with much resistance before they had a fancy name (responsibilities) and came with cool posters on their wall.

Craft time

I’ve written before how playing with kids never goes according to plan. In making an effort to make craft time work I’ve started getting the crafts ready the night before. This means cutting out shapes, taping things in place and allowing glue to dry if need be. My kids are pretty impatient (go figure impatient toddlers) … so doing this in front of them wasn’t working and craft time quickly left our routine. Prep the night before has been HUGE.

Over the past week we’ve done three crafts that required a bit of prep time. Snowflake rubbings, snowflake wall hanging, and we glued bits and pieces on a snowman. The kids loved doing these. FrugalFamilyFunBlog.com is a great source of inspiration for crafts and just having fun with your kids (I now rummage through the archives nightly to find a craft or something fun my boys and I can do the following day).

The key to a peaceful home, at least for us, is paying attention, having structure, planning in advance and jumping in with both feet.

Each family is different so how do you keep the peace in your home? Whether you have infants, toddlers or older kids?