Tools for Discipline: Environment

In this series on peaceful parenting, we've explored some basic tools for discipline: Connection and rhythm. Today I want to write about a third important tool, which I'll call environment. If you are conscious about your physical space and your belongings, it can support your efforts to have a positive family life.

Your home can promote calm

If you want a calm and peaceful family life, it helps to have a calm and peaceful home! The state of our surroundings does affect our mental well-being, and I think some children are especially sensitive to this. Decluttering and tidying up your space can have an immediate positive impact. If you are noticing a lot of bickering or your kids seem restless and disengaged, take stock of their surroundings. Experiment with bringing order to your home and see if this translates into calmer people.

Your home can be a “yes” zone

One thing that will help you as a parent is not having to say “no” all the time. You can make your life easier by not having off-limit things around. This is obvious when you have toddlers but is still important with older kids. If you don't want to have to say no to a certain kind of food, just don't have it in the house. Some families find having a cloth over the TV during the day (or even getting rid of the TV) is helpful. Children and parents both will appreciate having a home where the answer is most often “yes.”

Your home can invite creative play

Creative play is incredibly important in order for young children to thrive. You can support your children's creative play by setting your home up for it. Having fewer, more well-loved and open-ended toys is a boon for creative play. Straightening up a playspace, getting rid of toys, or re-organizing play areas for a fresh perspective can all really help inspire children to play. And when your children are happily engrossed in creative play you will have many fewer discipline issues to contend with.