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One way to achieve more balance in your life is to try being more consistent, something I am horrible at. We recently got a new puppy (yikes!) and it is a very strong reminder, every day, of how important consistency is to maintain order, and sanity, at home (read: avoid some chaos, hysteria, major messes and much exhaustion). Because my skills in this area are really lacking, I've looked up some tips that I'm sharing with you here:
1) Be consistent with the timing of your routines. Just like a child's bedtime, it's important to be consistent with the timing of most things when it comes to balancing family life, from meals to playtime and TV time too. Set a realistic schedule that works for everyone, and stick with it. It might be rough at first, but the benefits will pay off.
2) Be consistent in your discipline and messages to your kids (and puppies). No means NO. It cannot mean OK, just 1 time, 2 times, I'm warning you, this is the last time. It cannot mean maybe. Otherwise, little ones (of all species) become confused by what NO really means. Does it mean NO, never? Or does it mean MAYBE, sometimes, then never? I'm confused even typing this!
3) Be consistent in your reactions. When a child sees a parent suddenly react differently, they learn from that. They can learn fear, or mischief, or become confused. They look to us for queues on how to react to difference situations in life, and they learn from this. If you flip out when you're stuck in traffic, or when the fruit punch is spilled, or if you dismiss it completely, your child will learn how they should react. Remember that kids want to please parents and be like them, more than anything (deep, deep, DEEP down, it's true)- so send a consistent message about what you think is right and wrong, and what is acceptable or not in terms of behavior, and you will find that your kids mirror the tone, and voice and energy that you use to react to things in life.
4) Be consistent in your expectations. If you expect your kids to help set the table or clean up, for instance, before they can watch TV, or go to a friend's house, make sure they do it. This will teach them how to follow through on things, and also that good consequences come from being helpful. It will serve them well in many ways throughout life, and help you maintain a happier home.
Which things are important or challenging for you to be consistent in?