I am sure we've all had those moments of contention, stress, grouchiness, snarly voices, stomping feet and other unpleasantness at some time in our homes. I find that some of our most grumpy times are immediately after church, school or arriving home from a long day when people are hungry and tired.
One thing we have done to help with that is to impose a family meeting immediately at the end of the school day. "Meetings" consist of tickling, laughing, talking and snuggling. This has totally curbed the meltdowns that used to happen around five at night. Now everyone gets stress relief, laughter and love all at the same time. This goes a long way to keep people calm, happy and getting along. It also keeps child complaining and whining down and tired parents more patient.
Another thing I do is to make simple snacks quickly available after people enter the door. I have small bowls of fruit, yogurt, water and other healthy snacks ready to go immediately. It's amazing what a little food will do to help maintain a positive attitude when people are tired.
The one thing that got me thinking about this subject was the effect of music on the home. I started putting on very calming church music right when we came home on Sundays. It made a huge and immediate difference in the way we interacted before lunch was served and throughout the rest of the day.
I have adapted that to play calming New Age or other meditative music on other days. When everyone is busy and stressed it's great to bring the energy level down a notch. Getting ready for bed time is another great time to get the mellow music playing. It helps everyone unwind from the day, quiets the body and sets a tone for sleep.
This works in the car as well. It gives parents a lot of control over the tempo and mood of the car while driving. It's amazing what a few small touches can to to keep things calm, orderly and relaxed. Days are long and hard enough for everyone without the added tension of tiredness, hunger and impatience. Keeping the home mood light and welcoming goes a long way.