When you step out the door and walk down the street, you are surrounded by a deluge of influences, some of which are temptations from Satan. Parents may wonder how they can keep their children safe from the prevalent influences of sin. The answer is to keep the home a safe place from the world. When children are immersed in good influences at home, it helps them to avoid the pitfalls of the world. Here are some tips on making the home a safe place to live.
1. Eat Together
I’m sure everyone has heard the expression, “the family that eats together, stays together,” about a million times. But it is repeated so often because it is so true as a Huffington Post article tells us. Though the members of your family may be here, there, and everywhere throughout the day, have a set time for dinner so they can plan their schedules around it. Also, sit together at a table rather than zoning out in front of the TV.
2. Pictures of the Temples
Have reminders of the truth and purity of the gospel hanging on the walls in your home. Pictures of the temple can bring to mind sacred covenants and the importance of keeping your standards high. This will help you and your children feel that the home is a safe place to live.
3. Help Each Other Out
Life is stressful, and avoiding temptation is only part of it. There is work, school, church, and other activities that can make life hard. But a family is a great support system. Older siblings can assist the younger ones with homework, and it’s always okay for Mom to ask the kids to help prepare for a Cub Scout activity. Family members will learn service and grow closer when they help one another.
4. Keep Track of the Kids
You may think that this seems too pushy, but it is important to know where your kids are going and who they are hanging out with. Check on your kids when they go out into the world: ask questions about what they are doing, call them while they are out, and get to know their friends. This will help keep your children safe and let them know that you are interested in them and that you care.
5. Play Good Music
We will call this background music. Put on some classical music, MoTab, or check out this non-religious songs that helps some of our readers feel the spirit. Having good music playing can influence the mood of the family for better.
6. Internet Safety
The evils of the world can invade the safety of the home through technology. Make sure you have software on the computer that will stop these evils from getting in. Have the computer in a public place in the home, and become friends with your children on Facebook. For an additional guide, the FBI Reports and Publications has suggestions for how parent protect their kids while online. This will help you have a home feel like a safe place to live.
7. Cleanliness is Next to Godliness
The home can be a reflection of who we are, so a clean and organized home shows that we strive to be clean and organized in our lives. On busy days, it may be difficult to keep the home clean, but don’t be discouraged. Have members of the family help out with chores. Make it fun for the kids: have them work together, give prizes out if they complete 10 chores, or even turn cleaning into a competition. This not only helps to keep the home clean, but helps your children learn how to have fun while working.
8. Talk about things
Communication is a key to connect with your children. Not only talk to your children regularly about what is right and what is wrong, but ask them about themselves and what they did that day. If a child develops a comfortable relationship with a parent, then they will come to the parent with any problems they have. Here is a PBS webpage with articles on talking to kids as an extra help.
9. Temple Trips
Even though the temple isn’t technically in your home, it is the House of God, and since he is our Heavenly Father it is your house too. Family temple trips will help children learn the importance of keeping covenants. If your kids are too young to enter the temple, take them on the grounds so they can become familiar with the House of God.
10. Be Happy
On Family Share’s article “How to Keep a Home Happy,” the first step it lists is to be a happy person. A good attitude will not only help to keep your home happy, but help you feel more confident battling temptation. Even if you’ve had a rotten day, try to brush it aside and keep smiling. Your good attitude is bound to rub off on the other members of your family.
11. Have People Over
Keep your home safe from the world, but make sure it is always open for friends. Having people over can make the household cheery. Plus, when friends see the safe haven that your home is becoming, they may want to hang out there more often or even implement the same techniques within their home.
12. Conflict Resolution
Members of a family are together a lot of the time, which often results in driving each other crazy. When an argument does break out, be prepared to resolve it. Talk to each other, and don’t bite back at insults. Have a third party to help resolve the issue, try to compromise, and remember to always forgive. Udemy Blog gives some conflict resolution activities for adults and children. Your home should be a safe place where conflicts can be resolved.
13. Write Notes to Each Other
Share your love for one another by asking family members to write letters to siblings. These will be short snippets expressing gratitude or saying things they like about each other. This can be an FHE activity, or you could assign the task to one of your children randomly. Siblings will feel happy and learn to express love and appreciation.
14. Family Prayer, Scripture Study, and Family Home Evening
The gospel is never for just one day a week. Have daily family prayer and scripture study to help remind your family of the gospel on a regular basis. FHE will bring a family closer together and closer to God, so try to have it once a week. Having a set time for family prayer, scripture study, and home evening will help the members of the family to plan their schedule around them.
15. Good Media
The media is a huge influence on how we see the world. Make sure that the television shows, movies, music, and books that are brought into the home won’t teach the wrong messages. Parents can check the content of books and movies online so they can know before hand if they contain inappropriate material. Always seek out wholesome entertainment and “anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy” (Articles of Faith 1:13).
16. Don’t Be Glued To Technology
Even if the movies and video games you find for your kids are good, you don’t want your children to stare at the TV and computer all day and become zombies. You want them to be strong in more ways than thumb dexterity. Have them take a break from playing Angry Birds and try to interest them in other activities, whether it is taking a walk, doing crafts, or developing a new hobby.
17. Be Still
One of the comments in a Your Home Based Mom article notes the importance of “being STILL at times so we can hear what our Heavenly Father wants to communicate to us.” This pondering could be part of FHE. Turn off the TV and take out the ear buds. Have you family stay silent, reading the scriptures or praying as they ponder. For younger children, have quiet games available.
18. Spend Time Together
Take a little time and have some fun with your family. Do wholesome activities and try something new. When members of the family spend time together, they can become best friends and biggest supporters. Whether it is a day trip on the weekend or a board game night, get some family time together at least once a week.
19. Do The Best You Can
Despite all of your best efforts, evil influences may still find a way to pervade your home and your children. But tomorrow is a new day for you, so try again. Effort is half the battle, so give it your best and do all you can to keep your home a safe place.