I enjoy having people visit our home. In fact, one of the things I like to do most is prepare and cook a meal for our friends. We don’t do this often enough, though.
When we do have friends or family over, I tend to spend a lot of time cleaning, planning, and making sure everything is “just right.” However, after reading Karen Ehman’s book, A Life That Says Welcome, I realized that while I’m willing to go the extra mile for guests, I’m not always willing to do that for my own immediate family.
Now, what I’m about to share with you does not always happen in our home. It is definitely still a work in progress. 🙂
I’ve thought about how I can make each person in my family feel welcome at home every day. I think our homes should be safe places where we can escape the pressures of life. Each family member should feel loved and that they are able to be themselves.
One of the most important times of the day is when family members arrive home from school or work. That afternoon and early evening transition time can be one of strife or peace. If we are seeking peace in our homes, it’s up to us to set the tone when our family comes home.
I’ve come up with 5 simple actions that can help us say “welcome home” to our family and set a peaceful tone for the evening.
Choose your words carefully. Whether you are meeting your family at the door, in the car, or at the daycare center, a cheerful smile and positive words make a huge impact in setting the tone for the evening. Greeting them with negative words or reprimands only sets you up for arguments and strife. Even if you received bad news from your child’s teacher that day or you are angry with your spouse for something he did that morning, choose to reign in your tongue and find something positive to say. Save serious discussions for later in the evening when everyone can focus.
Provide a pleasant atmosphere. As I mentioned earlier, I tend to go all out when company is coming over, but when it comes to keeping my home neat, tidy, and clean on a regular basis, I am sad to say I neglect it more than I should. Keeping a neat and clean home is an unspoken way to say you care about your family. I shudder to think how many times I’ve cleaned the guest bathroom when I’ve neglected the other bathrooms that are used on a daily basis by my family. Yes, my kids are old enough to clean now, but when they were little they probably assumed all toilets were black. How disgraceful! 🙁 Take a few minutes each day to pick up around your home and schedule a consistent time to clean. If your children are old enough to help, let them pitch in so they can learn these tasks.
Give the best to your family. Too often we save the “good” dishes for company while our family eats out of old and worn dishes we’ve had for years. Pull out the china on occasion for no reason at all except to celebrate your family. Purchase some inexpensive fresh flowers from your grocer and light a candle to create a special atmosphere. Don’t do something extra for company that you would not consider doing for your family.
Bring back the family table. Our schedules leave our families scattered too often to sit down and share dinner together. Make a conscience effort to have dinner together as a family as many times a week as possible. This doesn’t mean you have to cook a meal from scratch! Take out pizza or fast food counts too. The point is to foster a sense of belonging and unity that comes from eating together as a family.
Leave notes to your family. Nothing says “I Love You” more than seeing it in writing. Putting pen to your words makes them permanent. Place notes in your kids’ lunch boxes or your hubby’s brief case. Reading words of affirmation will make them excited to come home and be with their family.
I am definitely still working on these things, especially the clean house. But, I want my family to feel welcome in their own home, so I’m willing to make the effort to do what I can to make them love being at home.
What about you? What are some ways you make your family welcome?