“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
Ephesians 4:2 (NIV)
The 60 Second Rule is a great habit to form with both your kids AND your spouse. The rule states that for the first sixty seconds in the morning—and the first sixty seconds when you see your child (or spouse) in the evening—you have to be totally positive. For sixty seconds you can’t complain, be grouchy or negative. Instead, for sixty seconds, you have to be loving, caring, and kind.
So, when you wake up in the morning, for the first 60 seconds, tell your spouse how much you love and appreciate all he or she does. Contrast that to waking up and nagging and complaining. The same rule applies to your kids. For the first 60 seconds, instead of yelling at them to wake up, you sit on their bed, and tell them how much you love and appreciate them. It totally sets the tone for the day!
Then, in the evening, repeat. When your spouse or kids walk in the door from work or school, stop what you’re doing, give them a hug and a kiss, and tell them how glad you are to see them. Contrast that to griping about something the moment they walk in the door. Again, it sets the mood for the evening. After the initial 60 seconds, you can be your normal self.
I personally have practiced this rule for the last 30 plus years and can testify that it works. When I first married, my husband would come home from work griping and complaining. I would rush to greet him with a kiss and remind him he had to say something really sweet for the first 60 seconds. That one-minute positive start-up totally changed his mood and set the tone for the evening. The 60 Second Rule is a great habit for your family to form!
For more great tips, read Parenting with Focus.