Why hanging out at home deserves way more credit

Sometimes hanging out at home with the kids isn’t easy. The kids are ratty with each other, they complain they’re bored and it’s just so easy to say yes to the technology they are pestering for. Honestly, it can also be so much easier to get everyone in the car and head out somewhere like the movies so the kids can be entertained (and hopefully not ratty) for a little bit. But the good news is home has lots going for it too.

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What does home have going for it?

It costs less

That in itself might not motivate you but teaching your children that much of life’s fun can be had without spending a lot of money is an awesome thing to model to them. Much of our stress can come from overspending or being worried about money. We might spend up for really good reasons because we truly want the best for our kids, but often having more relaxed, less stressed parents is just what they need.

Children become resourceful

Sometimes less at hand invites children to dig a bit deeper and come up with their own ideas and solutions. When it’s a hot summer’s day, the children would love a pool but you don’t have one and this time you are not bundling them into the car to drive to one. Give them a chance to find a way to cool down – the sprinkler, a water fight, the small paddling pool filled up with water and bubbles.

Children love the chance to work things out and find solutions. Maybe it’s the school holidays and there is a budget for outings and entertainment. The children could work out that the money goes further if you watch a movie at home, make your own popcorn and create the ambiance yourself.

Children learn a bit more about contentment

Children are pretty good at learning this one from us. If we feel peaceful and content at home, they will too. When they adjust to knowing that home has so much to offer, and finding that simple things in life to enjoy is enough – a new restfulness can be found. It doesn’t mean that they won’t get bored or fight – it probably means that they can reset themselves more quickly and get on with something else because they’re more relaxed.

It’s slower and has more rhythm

Our lives and children’s lives are very full and busy. We all need a chance to slow down, breathe in and relax – time to smell the roses, sit on a rug and sniff the scents around us, eat together without watching the clock and do some things on a regular basis. Home can facilitate this pace – just lingering a little longer at whatever we are doing. Just having time to sit and watch our children and notice what they are up to.

We probably know that if we’re doing okay, our kids will feel it and benefit. If we’re less stressed because we have slowed down – our peacefulness and pace will be contagious.

Play is a brain activity

Children need time to unwind and play in a way that is restorative and uses parts of the brain that other activities don’t. Dr Daniel Siegel and Dr Tina Payne Bryson talk about this in their book The Yes Brain Child. Free play is a ‘yes brain’ activity because the child is simply exploring their own imagination, trying out things in their behaviours and interactions with others, without judgment or threat.

Free play is not the same as structured sports play. Both have their roles in children’s lives. With athletics, the rules and the common setup in which one team wins and another loses frequently set up sense of evaluation of right and wrong. Having time for free play literally frees the child to explore her own imagination.

Ideas for spending more time at home – ways to help you navigate

Expect it to take time to settle into it

You may have some resistance at first because having life organised for you – can avoid having to think of what to do. Once it becomes routine – it will become natural.

It will take a bit of ‘set up’ time

When children have to create their own play – they are often stumped for ideas or motivation. Pop a list of ideas on the fridge to help them remember what they can do. Get them going and then stand back a bit and survey what they are up to.

The benefits are so good – hang in there

Being at home might also mean things are a little messier and less organised. The lounge might get taken over for a day or two for the huts to be made, the kitchen with little ones helping will not stay tidy and crafts require a bit of room.

It may mean saying no to doing too many after-school activities

This can feel uncomfortable as you are aware that others are taking their kids here and there. Focus on what works best for your family and how you thrive when you have time and space to enjoy each other.


Book a session with a Family Coach

family-coachSometimes family life is way more challenging than we had ever imagined. We would like it to be a lot more enjoyable, if only we knew how. Family coaching is designed to meet you where you are at, whatever stage you are at on your parenting and relationship journey. We want to be on the journey with you. To find out more and to book a session, click here.

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About Author

Jenny Hale

Jenny Hale is our Senior Family Coach and we’ve been lucky enough to have her on our team for 19 years now. Once upon a time, Jenny was a teacher. These days, she spends her time supporting our team of Family Coaches, training new ones, and travelling around the country talking in preschools, schools and churches. She loves working with families and helping them find solutions to the challenges they face with behaviour and parenting. Jenny has been married to Stuart for 40 years and adores being a grandma to her grandkids (who live just 1km away). She needs a support group so she can stop buying books for them. She’d love to raise free-range chickens, write children’s books and perhaps even take up horse-riding again.

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