click here to jump to start of article
  • Torah Reading: Tzav
Join Our Newsletter

Get latest articles and videos with Jewish inspiration and insights​

4 Simple Ways to Create a Happy Home

4 Simple Ways to Create a Happy Home

How to create the environment your kids want to come home to.


Everyone wants a happy home and as parents we have the ability and responsibility to create a home where children feel safe and loved. We want to foster a home environment where everyone feels respected and each person’s individuality is celebrated. We want our kids and spouses to want to come home at the end of their long days.

This does not have to be difficult. There are some simple changes that we can implement to help create that feeling of warmth and hominess.

1. Make coming home happy:

The best marriage advice that I got was this: Go to the door to greet your husband when he comes home. Save your complaints, stresses, problems and whining for later (or for never.)

When my kids were little, this was easy advice to follow. My husband would come home from work and our children would all stop what they were doing and come bounding to the door and throw themselves at my husband. The enthusiastic homecoming was enjoyed by all. The kids loved it, my husband loved it and I loved watching the scene unfold before me.

Although my kids are older and not so bouncy, I still try to maintain that sense of fun and happiness when my husband walks through the door. When I see his car pull up, I give a happy yell in the direction of my kids “Daddy’s home!” I stop what I am doing, walk to the door and give him a warm welcome. I try to avoid any heavy topics during that time, no talk of bills, Aunt Ethel’s upcoming visit or an untimely phone call from our children’s teachers.

I try to do this for each of my kids as well. Just a few minutes of time as your child walks in the door can make a world of difference. Many children need your undivided attention at the end of their day. School is like one long day of work for them. A hug, kiss, a snack and a listening ear, are simple and powerful way to let them know that they are valued, and loved.

It’s not the time to bring up serious issues or discipline your children. “Did you hand in that paper that was late?” You know you left your dirty laundry in your room, you need to go upstairs right now and take care of that!”

Parents might also try to get their children to talk about their day. Most children usually find their parents seemingly innocuous questions as intrusive:

“How was your day?” “Did you have fun?” “ Was Sara feeling better today?”

Instead it is better to just let them know that you are happy to see them, “I am so glad you are home!” Serious discussions, discipline and questions are best left for another time.

2. Give them transition time:

After greeting our spouses and kids happily we need to give them a bit of time to transition from work/school to home. Everyone needs a bit of time to unwind and switch gears. We want to make it as pleasant as possible.

I have one friend whose husband comes home from work and disappears into their bedroom for 5-10 minutes, (with his wife’s support and permission) just to catch his breath. He is then able to sit down to dinner with his family.

Children also need some time to unwind. Although there are some children who need to review their day in full with their parents, many children just need a bit of quiet. Oftentimes parents encourage their children to do their homework right when they get home and get it out of the way. Sometimes extracurricular activities are planned, last minute errands or chores need to be done. Many children do not have the focus, attention or ability for that type of fast turnaround.

It might be beneficial for children to wait until they have relaxed before they attempt to do their homework. Schedules can be planned with some wiggle room and jobs can wait a bit until there has been some down time.

I advise mothers, if they can, to take a few minutes before all their kids walk in from school to do something just for themselves, to enjoy and savor the last few minutes of quiet before the rush and stresses of the dinner and homework hour.

I have another friend who comes home from work after her husband and her children. She stops her car a few blocks from home, sits and listens to some music and eats a healthy snack. This gives her the time and the patience that she needs to greet her family after a long day at work.

3. Make relaxation a value in your home:

Our lives are so rushed and stressful and it is impacting on our health and well-being. Relaxation seems to be a forgotten need or a luxury. However, it should be a priority and it needs to be scheduled into everyone’s day. It is imperative that everyone in the family has some downtime.

It is helpful for parents to identify their child’s means of relaxation and then make sure that they are able to engage in that activity. Some common ways that kids relax are:

  • arts and crafts
  • reading
  • playing an instrument
  • outside play
  • taking care of animals
  • play sports
  • hanging out with friends
  • bouncing on a trampoline
  • nature related activities
  • taking care of their collections: rocks, bugs, stamps

It is the same with your spouse. Find out what they like to do to relax and make sure they are able to do it. Taking walks, crafts, cooking, reading are just a few examples.

4. Laugh:

The medical community has agreed that laughter is the best way to relieve stress and even more serious ailments. It is also the best way to connect with others. Families bond over a good laugh. It is a sure sign of a happy home.

Every healthy family has their share of inside jokes, where just a word or a look could get everyone giggling. Sharing memories of vacations gone awry, asking kids to share the funniest moments of their day, and telling kids the silly things they did as babies are all ways to keep the laughter flowing.

We all know that home is where our heart is. Creating joyful homecomings, giving our loved ones time to transition, developing healthy relaxation habits and laughter can help our hearts reside in a happy place.

December 27, 2014

Give Tzedakah! Help create inspiring
articles, videos and blogs featuring timeless Jewish wisdom.
The opinions expressed in the comment section are the personal views of the commenters. Comments are moderated, so please keep it civil.

Visitor Comments: 4

(4) Linda, May 1, 2015 10:57 PM

Smile when you walk in the door.

I loved what you wrote. The more you can smile and laugh in a home, the better. Meal times should be relaxing with everyone getting a turn to tell about their day. I always asked, "What was the best thing that happened at school and what was the worst thing?" Don't forget to compliment your children often. Be kind and build up their self-esteem. Try to have a sense of humor and don't take things too seriously. Before we go to sleep, my husband and I say at least one nice thing to each other! We'll be married 50 years in August. Linda

(3) Michelle, January 6, 2015 7:48 PM

never complain

Sorry, disagree, we have to let people be people. To feel and share. You can't tell a wife to never complain or share her stresses or problems. We are a team to support one another. It is bad advice to tell women to keep it to themselves and not be true to themselves... it only builds resentment and distance. We have to stop telling women to not feel and just act like superwomen!

(2) Imran Ali, January 1, 2015 10:34 PM

Little bit of effort going a long way!

Fantastic advice, as a working father. I too, sometimes sit in my car, listen to something relaxing and mellow before I greet my children. It's great as they look forward to seeing me as much as I do them! Therapeutic, some may say. Thanks Adina!

(1) Anonymous, January 1, 2015 5:50 PM

good I read this now, it will have been miraculous 15 years ago

Loved the 4 concepts! Adding a nice smell of tasty food also serves right

Submit Your Comment:

  • Display my name?

  • Your email address is kept private. Our editor needs it in case we have a question about your comment.

  • * required field 2000
Submit Comment