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Happiness truly starts at home – when we focus on filling our homes with calm and joy, it radiates through all the other facets of our lives. But where should we start when we want to create a happy home? Here are our 10 top tips.

Have family dinner around a table every night
Adding this small ritual to your routine will make a huge difference. Not only do nightly family dinners help you create wonderful memories with your kids, but they are also a great way to help your children better communicate with you – the more time they can spend chatting with you, the more opportunities they will have to bring up any issues they may be facing. Click here for 25 great dinner questions to keep the conversation going!

Make the most of your afternoons
We’re not suggesting you throw homework out the window and let the kids live it up each and every arvo – rather, that you take opportunities (wherever possible) to inject a bit of fun into your weekly routine. You don’t even need to leave the house, or sacrifice your 6.30pm dinner time. Whether it’s going for a bike ride or trying a craft activity, we listed ten fun things to do after school right here.

Make a good first impression
Your home’s entryway is likely the very first thing you experience when you arrive home, so it’s only logical that you make it look, smell and feel as welcoming as possible. Reed or essential oil diffusers are a great, safe way to circulate some fragrance, and it’s a good idea to put something that makes you feel happy – a fresh bunch of flowers, a family photo – by the front door, garage door or back door (wherever you and guests enter most frequently), too.

Set up a chores ‘hit list’
Chore charts are out – hit lists are in. These little lists (think three to five tasks, maximum) are a great way to keep your home looking and feeling fresh, and help your family learn how to work towards a common goal. Each family member’s hit list will be pretty much the same, containing simple habits like making their bed, putting their clothes or toys away, ensuring there are no dirty dishes lying around and unpacking their bags at the end of the day.

Establish daily gratitude practices
Nothing boosts your mood like feeling true gratitude, and it’s a good thing to remind your children of, too. Whether you set up a gratitude wall in your home – where each family member writes one thing they’re grateful for that week – or you start each day with a positive affirmation, taking a moment to reflect on your many blessings (and we promise, there will be many!) doesn’t just establish happiness within your home, but also benefits your life more generally.

Turn beloved keepsakes into home decor
Family heirlooms and photos don’t belong in dust-covered albums or forgotten corners of the garage – they should be on display, to remind you of happy memories! Take some time to frame your children’s old artwork and family photos and dust off the keepsakes that mean the most to you, and put them on display for all to see. As you and your children move through your home, they’ll serve as happy reminders of your life as a family.

Bring life into your home
Whether it’s in the form of a plant or a pet, adding literal life to your home is a great mood booster. Several studies have shown that both plants and pets can make you live longer, happier lives. You can read our tips for adding plants to your home in our digital issue right here, but if you haven’t had much luck with plants in the past, why not just buy fresh flowers every once in a while? And, if you’re looking to add a pet to the family, check out this guide for the best pets through the ages.

Establish ‘screen free’ times or zones
Screens are an unavoidable part of life, but there is such a thing as too much screen time. To combat the eye strain and brain overstimulation that can come with screen time, why not establish times or spaces in your home where screens are off limits? The table during family dinner is an obvious one, but the kitchen is also a great place to reduce your screen exposure – put on some music while you cook, or use it as a time to have a chat with your partner or kids instead! Setting an hour of screen-free time after school is a good idea, too.

Look at your lighting
From helping you sleep to improving your cognitive performance, lighting impacts our day-to-day lives a lot more than you might think. Whether you’re spoilt with natural light or have to rely on artificial lighting doesn’t matter, either – in fact, low light has been shown to keep your emotions steady, while blue light can calm you down, albeit at the cost of your sleeping pattern. Take a closer look at your lightbulbs and see how you feel in each room. It may be worth doing some more research!

Take time for yourself
You’ve heard it a hundred times before, but it’s certainly true that you can’t help others feel happier if you don’t feel happy yourself. That’s exactly why it’s so important for you – as a parent – to take time out to practice a bit of self-care every now and then. This could mean finding an activity that keeps the kids busy while you indulge in a great book, making time for exercise or treating yourself to a day of fun or relaxation. Here are a few ideas.

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haven  

haven is all about family, life and style in Brisbane's inner city suburbs, the Gold Coast, south to Byron Bay. We have been keeping parents in the know for over eight years, with fun, fresh and helpful stories that they can take tips from or treasure in their own library.