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How to share spaces with your family and still like each other

Published on April 14, 2020 by Rebecca Hinshelwood

There are many positives that you can take from being forced to spend time in close proximity to your partner and / or children. The same goes for adult offspring and parents! Techniques to ensure harmony in limited space are skills you can always call upon when hanging out with extended family and even work colleagues. Because, actually, these situations come about more often than you may realise. Family holidays, relocations, milestone celebrations, seminars and conferences. Now at least you can look forward to handling these situations with ease!

Taking Time Out

Everyone needs their own space. Even your 4 year old. If you’re in a defined space, it can feel like there’s no way to ‘escape’.  Wherever you may be, safeguarding your physical and mental space is vital in keeping relations harmonious. But, short of locking yourself in the bathroom with a massive bar of chocolate, what can you do? The key is that, in fact, space is in the eye of the beholder. Let the kids build a den out of cushions and blankets. Believe it or not, having a private space is as important for small people as it is for big ones. So by enabling this for your children, you’ll find a moment of calm for yourself!

Communicate

Adults sharing a space can very quickly drive each other up the wall! So to maintain harmony, it’s all about managing conflict. And the key to managing conflict is communication. (Just to clarify, bickering does not count as communication!) Simply keep talking. Ask the rest of your family how they are. Play talky games: good old fashioned charades is a good place to start. And listen. Even if you have little idea what your teenager is on about. Try giving some autonomy to your children – maybe they can spend the day as king or queen of their imaginary country… within reason of course!

Everything has a Place

When you are in a smaller space than you are used to, tidiness is so important. This is why serviced apartments work so well. They’re ideally kitted out for your stay, and everything is laid out for you. When your surroundings descend into chaos, it is very easy to feel mentally derailed. So give everything its place and keep it there. Admittedly this can be hard with children (although bribery often helps them to enthusiastically return items to where they should be). You’ll be amazed at how clearing the decks every few hours will help everyone to maintain a sense of control.

Share the Load

In a space with your family, get everyone involved. If getting meals prepared means letting your 8 year old help to cut vegetables, then so be it. It’s not the end of the world if everything’s a bit higgledy piggledy. Of course, future breaks to a luxury serviced apartment come with the added benefit of service personnel taking on many loads – including cleaning, laundry, even cooking. So when it’s on offer, grasp it with both hands!

Relax and Laugh

Put your feet up. Let the kids perform the show they’ve been going on about for the last three weeks. You’re here for a reason so you may as well enjoy it. That reason may feel out of your control – and in the future it may be a career relocation or a family occasion. Still, the principles remain the same. If you let your family bring a smile to your face and a laugh to your lips, you’ll start to appreciate the experience rather than resent it.

Structure and Routine

Stuck at home or enjoying a future break, some level of structure is important. We all know that routine is instrumental for children, but its actually true for adults, too. You don’t have to schedule every hour. Just make sure you experience new things, eat, drink, sleep enough, and get some exercise. Ticking these things off will bring organic structure to your day and make even downtime feel more productive. When you plan a future break to London there’s no end of activity to keep you engaged, active and learning!

You may currently be in your own home, and in months to come you’ll enjoy staying away with family or acquaintances. Either situation can have moments of tension. Of course, looking ahead, when you’re staying in a serviced apartment the added comfort and service works wonders in soothing these tensions. But just as important is your ability to embrace the positives of your situation. Remember this both now and in the future.

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