171. Making home a place where your kids want to hangout (with you, and their friends)

Whether your vision is to be the hangout spot on the block, or a place your kids still come to visit after moving out, small changes can be made to create a cozy, comfortable, and welcoming home for the quickly growing and ever-changing family.


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Hey friends, welcome to the simple on purpose podcast. Around here we talk about all the ways all the ideas, all the mindsets and approaches that you can take to simplify your life, your home and your heart, kind of the inner experience as well, and show up for your life on purpose. So I am Shawna, if you are new here, and I am a mom of three kids, my kids are 11,10 and eight. And over the years, you guys have termed me to be your nerdy girlfriend. That’s a nickname given to me in the simple Saturdays, email. So I proudly wear that name as a badge of honor. I am your nerdy girlfriend, your counselor and your life coach. And hey, I’m in small town, Canada. So here we are preparing for the winter, as fall is going to be wrapping up soon. And winter, hey, I did some Christmas shopping on my lunch break today, ordered some things and I want to make sure they get here in time. So I’m gonna put that out there. It’s kind of like those reminders, go pull me out of the freezer for dinner, go order some things that you need for Christmas. And if you want to really get intentional about your Christmas this year, I have something called the simple and Christmas planner. I’ll link that in the show notes if you’re interested in that. So today I’m going to be sharing another question that was sent in through the simple Saturday’s email. Let me toggle over to the right window to read it to you. All right, I would love to hear another episode on making small changes in our home to make it more of a haven for the quickly growing and ever changing kids, and how to keep it a safe and cozy place that they want to be in. Oh, I just love that idea. All right. So before I get into this, sometimes I get a stuckness with getting the podcast recorded. And I know there’s a lot of different factors that go into that. But sometimes that stuckness is about me, really second guessing what I’m sharing. So something that just helps me to say upfront is all of this is just my, my opinion. These are my ideas. I don’t believe that motherhood is prescriptive that life, how it should look for you should look the copy of someone else. Like I believe that you need to tap into your own values, your own strengths, your own passions, your own quirks, and live into motherhood from that place be a mum on purpose. So these are just my ideas. Also, on the other hand, I really appreciate hearing ideas. So just take what you like and leave the rest as we say for dinner, try your bite and take what you like, you might not like it. Alright, so this question, I really, really love this question because it’s a passion of mine. Years ago, I read an article about making home a place that your kids want to come home to like the idea of hey, when your kids are older, are they still gonna want to come home and hang out with you? And so that’s been in the back of my brain for a number of years. I think about it a lot. The other reason why I really like this question is because I know it’s a passion for women out there, maybe they don’t directly connect that just yet. But when I do coaching specifically, we go through a person’s vision and values and a portion of that exercise in setting the vision is setting a vision for your home. How do you want your home to feel? How do you what do you want to use it for? The most common answers that I hear are, I want my home to be peaceful, inviting, welcoming, I want my kids to feel safe here, I want it to be there like a safe place. I want it to be cozy I want people feel at home here. And I think we could dig into the reasons why we crave these things. Maybe we didn’t really have that when we were growing up and we crave to make that in our own in our own home. Now, maybe we want to entertain, maybe we want to be a safe place to others and, and others could be like your kids and their friends or your own personal friends. Maybe you want to host people in your community. Maybe you like being like the family drop in center.

Maybe we just personally as people, we want our home to feel like a peaceful oasis from the world. And then there’s many of us who just associate that word home with this sentiment of it being a nest a haven. So we have different ideas on what a home should be. And for some of you, you know that it means creating this kind of Haven space. So this question is specifically about creating that safe, cozy and welcoming place for your kids a place they want to be. And so if this is part of your vision, and really having a vision is so so important for all the areas of your life, right? This is kind of a big basis of the life on purpose workbook. If you’ve checked that out at all our use and use and it’s not even a word or used the free worksheets. I’ll link both of those in the show notes as well. So a vision is knowing what you want like big picture, what do you want to feel? What do you want to do? Like what do you want things to

be like and it’s helps you direct your energy, your money, your time into working towards this big vision, instead of just like going day to day and being really reactive to your space your life. So knowing your vision is really important. So you can ask like, do I want my kids and all their friends hanging out here? You might not, you might not really want that. Or you might think it’s wonderful. So just know where you stand on that. Do I want my home to be like, efficiency, your place for pitstop? So we can just go out and keep doing all the things? Do I want my home to be like an entertainment zone? Do I want to kind of build up my space, my living area for that. And then when it comes to making our space, what we want it to be? The first step most of us think about is decluttering. That’s fair, right? If you stand in your living room, or your kitchen, kind of a main area, and you ask yourself, Is this welcoming? Is this cozy, maybe you’ll say yes. Or maybe you might start noticing the laundry baskets on the couch, the stacks of papers on the table, and so on. So decluttering is important. It’s important because it makes space for people. And if you grew up in a cluttered place, like I did no disrespect to my parents, it just is what it is. But if you grew up in clutter, you felt like there was never really a space for you. And you probably didn’t feel like there was space for you to have friends over. I don’t think we notice our clutter. I know I get so used to things just in my space. Like I can get used to shoving the laundry basket down to the end of the couch or moving piles of paper and books. I can make myself at home amongst my stuff, but others probably won’t. And maybe even sometimes our kids won’t want to do that as well. So decluttering it’s important. It’s important to make space for your people, and maybe the people that they want to have over or you want to have over. But with one caveat decluttering won’t make your home peaceful. And if you listen to that OG episode number, I think 69 Well, a simpler home bring me peace? The answer is yes. And the answer is no. So yes, simplifying, decluttering your space it, it changes how you use it. And it can just generally reduce your amount of stress when you reduce your amount of clutter. But also know, simplifying, tidying, decluttering organizing will not make your space more peaceful. If your house doesn’t actually feel peaceful to be in, you know what I mean? Like the emotional atmosphere around the house, if you’ve done all that work to clean and organize. And then it becomes this whole big thing. You have to control rules and pressure and expectations or just any of that in general like shame, frustration, guilt, for things not being a certain way, your house won’t feel peaceful. And then all of that piece that you craved, you still haven’t gotten it, if you know what I mean. Anyways, go listen to that episode as well. I’ll link that in the show notes too. So when we’re making space for our people in our home, we’re also thinking about making space for activities to happen for life to happen. Maybe you might want a place for games or puzzles could just be your dining room table and you can just move things around to eat when the time comes. Maybe you want to place for rowdy games, maybe you have like kids who want to play mini sticks and stuff. And maybe you’ve got a carport or a basement where you aren’t really worried about something breaking. Or maybe you just simply want a place to hang out making space to just be together. For me personally, I think this has been a big focus for us this past year as we finally had the chance to do some big renovations to our space. And we ended up adding three new seating areas really to our living spaces. We’ve got an island which we never had before. We have this like dining banquette that’s also in our dining room. And we have an outdoor patio space. These had never been here before, it was kind of an eat in kitchen. So it was really like, once the kids were done eating, they were out because it was so cluttered to have everything cleaned up and all that they’d go hang out on the couch. But now when we’re cleaning up dinner, or making dinner, or just kind of in the kitchen, there’s almost always a kid sitting at the island chatting to us or just at the couch, chatting to us from there. The summer was really cool to see how that porch space got used, because it had these kinds of comfy seats on it. And I would sit there almost all the time. And if I had a girlfriend over or we had some snacks out, it just became a place that people naturally congregated. So creating space for activities to happen, even if that activity is just hanging out can be really, really helpful. And then we think about making home just a place where your kids want to be like what will they like? I asked my kids this what makes home a place you’d like to be. And my my older son who’s 11 He said he likes having stuff to do, whether that’s mini hockey in the basement or road hockey in the yard, and he also said it’s really important to him that he can just relax and watch TV so he’s kind of that like work hard play hard kind of get my daughter said crafts that’s what that girl

On Sean’s crafts, and I can kind of think to myself like, what would I have wanted in my own house as a kid, what would have made it kind of a cool place that I would like to hang out? So you can even ask yourself that, like what would have made you enjoy your home more as a kid, and we can think about what our kids would like we can ask them and it might feel like we have to fill our home with the funniest things like an arcade in the basement, a giant gumball machine never runs out. Kids love those, that would be fun, right? But it really doesn’t have to be that extreme in my opinion. So in just my observations of parenting, and my still really short parenting career, it’s it’s short, I acknowledge that they’re not teenagers, I haven’t gone through that. But what I’m noticing the three things that the need or want, it seems, is one is a place to hang out, right. And we see kids congregate in the weirdest places like in on curbs on the side of the road in Arena lobbies, like they don’t need a lot, they just need some space. The second thing is they also want a place where they can just be themselves, which to me is acceptance, and a bit of like freedom, a place to just like laugh and be silly, tell stupid jokes, do fortnight dances, play their music, play many sticks without worrying that everything will be broken, and they’ll get in trouble. Just a place they can be themselves. And snacks. They just they want snacks. And don’t overthink it, though, popcorn is really cheap. So before I talk about a place where your kids want to hang out with you specifically, like hanging out with the parent figures, I want to talk about their friends. Because I don’t know about you, my kids are kind of getting into the age where they really just want to hang out with their buddies. So if you think that you kind of want that house where friends come over, maybe it’s the place where kids kind of congregate to then here’s some things that I’ve noticed for myself. So, so storytime. years ago, we had a kid who lived down the road from us, and I knew them I knew their home life was hard. And they would come and play with my own kids. They kind of just come up whenever Hey, can I play? Sure. But it wasn’t easy. It wasn’t always easy. I had to supervise a lot I had to listen in, I had to redirect them, I had to also learn how to say no and set boundaries and know that it was okay for me to ask a kid to hit home. Eventually, when things were just, you know, everyone’s kind of just done. But it also was really working on my heart because I learned that I felt this really deep desire to be a safe place for this little person, even if it’s just four afternoons, a few times a week. But I also had to commit to that I had to commit to being that place, even when it was hard even when I’d rather not have more people in my house even when I’d rather not make another bowl of popcorn, and go to the store for extra bananas. Like even when it meant me kind of being on supervision mode a little bit. So if this is what you want, it doesn’t mean kind of checking in with your heart. So you can keep it open to the kids that are coming into your home to make sure that it is still being a safe place. So that’s kind of been my personal mission. And it’s turned into something I really enjoy. My kids are older now they bring their friends over. In generally, I’d say it’s an open door policy. All of the time, you can bring friends home whenever we do kind of protect Friday night family movie, so we will send kids home. So Friday night goes on, or Saturday afternoon. That’s kind of family time as well. But I’ve learned that I really like having kids over I like being the Hangout house. I love getting to know these kids and their parents. I just love hearing their laughter and their fun. Even if it gets like crazy noisy enough to shut the doors. I love that generally all three of my kids are included in the play. Even though they’re three years apart in age, everyone generally plays with one another. And I really love that this also allows me to hang out with my kids a little bit longer because they are getting to that age where peers Trump parents, they prefer their friends. And part of it is hard because they get a little bit older and they’re like, getting chill, and they’re kind of getting really fun to hang out with and have conversations with. I don’t want them to just spend all their time away like I want to know is them. So bringing in their friends, it also lets you be involved in just being able to just hang out with them still. So I asked my kids what makes them think yeah, I could have my friends over. This is a nice place to have my friends over. My older son said having a lawn in a basement so he really likes that space to play. My daughter said again crafts which I rarely say no to her and her friends pulling out all the crap stuff. Making like I don’t know, glue gun shapes out of melted glue, painting faces whatever. But you know what they didn’t say they didn’t say all Mom, it’s because you you buy snacks and you offer food to our friends. Because I’ll tell you if I was a kid and came to my house I’d be like look

Get the snacks, I would never want to leave, I open my cupboard and I’m like, I’m rich. I have individually packaged things and kids can eat them. And it just makes me feel like, this is a cool place to be. I don’t know if you guys know, this is cool. I’m just going to hang out in this kitchen and revel in it. My kids also didn’t say, because you and dad are welcoming, and you talk to you to our friends. Like they didn’t say that. But that’s something we kind of make sure we’re checking in with these kids. asking them some questions like just seeing, going, showing interest without interrogation. And that’s a fine dance for conversations with all children, but they don’t see that they just see that we have the space and we kind of have permission to play. So that’s bringing your kids friends into your home and in your life, I find a lot of value in it, I enjoy it. But if you want to do it, you kind of need to be okay with that extra noise, that extra mess. Sometimes that extra drama, you need to be okay with setting boundaries and asking other people’s kids clear your dishes or wear your helmet or telling them screentime is up like go outside and play. Which by the way, my my son did say one thing he likes better about other people’s houses is there’s no screen time limits. I don’t really blame him, I would have felt the same. So let’s kind of move into getting your kids to hang out with you. And this is kind of where the question is more going. Because as kids get older, I think it can be pretty common where everyone just kind of goes to their own rooms and does their own thing. On one hand, I think it’s helpful to not get freaked out by this because I think it’s really helpful for kids to want that downtime, that alone time, especially being in school and socializing all day, it can be really draining. I also think it’s healthy to learn that skill of being alone and learning to enjoy your own company and maybe like flex your weirdness a little bit safety of your room. burn some incense get all emotional about the new Fiona Apple album, I don’t know, it’s good to let your weirdness have a space to play. But if you want to get a little more family time where you’re in each other’s space and making eye contact once in a while, I think some things can help. Here’s a list of ideas. The first one is to have some routines where connection naturally happens like movie night family mealtime. Because when the routines there is just part of the routine. It’s not like you need this big pitch. Oh, you should leave your room and come hang out with us tonight. And we’ll watch a movie. Rather than that. It’s just routine. And I think I have an episode on family rhythms and routines. I’m going to link that in the show notes as well. If your kids hanging out alone in their room, I think it’s really nice sometimes to just stop by and see what they’re up to. I know, my kids are still young, where I can just kind of come in and sit on their bed and be like, what’s up? What are you doing, and they don’t roll their eyes at me yet. So I’m okay with that. I’m going to see how long I can ride that wave for. I think it’s really great to have some communal activities. Maybe you guys bake together or just have a deck of cards like one game that everyone knows, listen to a podcast series together, watch a TV show together, we have family shows, to me TV is social. And I think that it can be a bonding experience as well. That’s one of my favorites. Maybe turn off the Wi Fi. I don’t know, maybe I have this sometimes unpopular opinion that kids shouldn’t have smartphones or tablets, just like free range. That’s just my opinion. So it’s personal, my experiences my thoughts. But getting back to your kids to be hanging out with you. I know if I was a teenager with a cell phone, it would be really hard for me to leave it,

turn it off. So maybe some unplugged hours of the week, your kid might just be bored enough to like linger into the kitchen and see what you’re up to. Another thing I’ve talked about in the past that I find really helpful are side by side activities. I’ll try to link that in the show notes. I think it was one of my simple pleasures puzzles, particularly because those side by side activities of walking puzzles where you’re just beside each other. It creates a low pressure to communicate, but the opportunity is there. So I think puzzles are really great. Even just having something out on a table, like a snack or something a fidget with it really encourages people to just sit down for a minute and be there. And really if we want our kids to be more social than we need to be social with them, modeling it, putting down our phones making conversation and not like forcing conversations, right but just being available for it showing an interest in it. I love the idea of just normalizing hanging out. Can you hang out with someone your house, your partner, another kid and just create like an atmosphere where you’re just together you’re just hanging out chit chatting like low pressure because I think that’s something that kids are more likely to adopt in and join with. There’s many nights I’ve noticed over the past year or so, where we all kind of just end up sitting in the living room. Maybe one kid is like playing music and dancing

into the Alexa, maybe another one’s trying to do handstands on the floor. Maybe one is just like sitting and watching it all if you know my three kids, you know.

But there’s no pressure, there’s no agenda is just like, small talk and inside jokes in I catch myself in these moments and I’m like, this isn’t perfect moment, I really am reveling in those, which also have a blog post on perfect moments. So I’m going to link that in the show notes as well, the show notes, you got to check them out, they’re gonna be full of good stuff. Finally, I think the most important thing, in my opinion, is to be a place where your kids want to hang out with you to be an emotionally safe place for them. And this is hard, this is hard. I think a lot of us didn’t have an emotionally safe place growing up. And it is hard to be that emotionally safe place, it’s hard to not snap when they do something that’s out of line, like, even if you’re just hanging out together, maybe they do something to their sibling, that’s not okay. And it’s hard to correct them and then still come back into this like cozy connected environment. It’s hard not to nag them when they share a story about doing something you don’t agree with. It’s hard to validate their emotions or thoughts without telling them, they’re wrong, or they shouldn’t think that or they shouldn’t feel that way. It’s hard to just listen and accept and be curious without lecturing and correcting. All of those things can make an emotionally safe or unsafe place. And I really tried to approach parenting with thinking like, I want them to keep coming back and talking to me, I want them to feel like they can be honest with me, I’m going to help them through it, I’m going to coach them through it, I’m going to get curious with them, I want to help them understand the situation in themselves and how they can get what they want. But I don’t want to punish them for their honesty, I want to keep them coming to me with whatever is happening in their life. And that starts with a really small, simple little things of them being toddlers and the things they come to you with. And the issues get bigger and bigger as they get bigger. But if you create that emotional safety early and consistently, then they can know that they can rely on that. But it is a lot of work from parents. I’ll say that much. So I want to bring it all back to the concept of Heuga, which the questioner asked about. And who that is the Danish word for that idea of things being cozy and connected and content. And we might think like candles and cozy socks and like cute tablescapes. But really the sentiment of it and I have some posts and episodes on that I’ll link to I want to bring it back to the three main parts of this concept cozy. Is our space physically welcoming, you might want to declutter, you might want to make space for activities to happen, you might want to make spaces for people to just hang out connected, do we make time to connect with one another and you don’t have to have like scheduled activities like this is games night. This is this time. But just to make sure that there’s chunks of time in your day and your week that you are generally available to connect with to hang out with and contentment content, don’t pressure it, let it be a little bit messy. Let them come and go let them let it be a little bit hard. Because hard and awesome. Everything has hard and awesome in it. So the awesome will show up when you can ride the waves through the heart and also emotional safety, right? Like contentment has a big component of just acceptance, right accepting them accepting you accepting this whole experience that we’re all having together and validating it that we are still going to be each other safe place. So I really love this question. It really made me think of a lot of different aspects. So I know I’ve covered different kinds of ways to approach it. If you want to hear more about one of these specific points, please come to the Facebook group and share it there. If you have specific questions for me. Come into the Facebook group and share them there as well. Alright friends, have a great week.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

2 thoughts on “171. Making home a place where your kids want to hangout (with you, and their friends)”

  1. I resonated with your statement that not all of us had emotional safety in our home when we were growing up. The family of my upbringing was completely free of abusive language, yet shame was their primary behavioral tool. I had never pinpointed that as my problem, but now it is clear why I struggled and failed at listening without pointing out their errors when my own children confided in me. So I benefited from your detailed description of how we can create emotional safety. My own children are grown but I can use these concepts with my grandchildren, who are similar in ages to your children. It’s never too late to learn, and hopefully apply. Thanks so much!

    • Thank you so much for sharing your own insights and journey here. I know it will help others. And I encourage you that it is never too late, even with your adult kids, to acknowledge and provide emotional safety. Proud of you!


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