8 Easy Tips for a More Pleasant Home by Sarah Chana Radcliffe

8 Easy Tips for a More Pleasant Home by Sarah Chana Radcliffe

Every week I love reading Sara Chana Radcliffe’s wisdom-packed Family First column on improving family relationships. And I especially loved Sara Chana’s common-sense tips this week for making our homes more pleasant places to be for our family members. The tips that I most needed to hear and need to work on: waiting 15 minutes after kids and husband walk in the front door before making any requests or voicing any complaints. And, to limit complaints and requests to one per day per family member. Here’s the full list:

1. Give a really pleasant greeting to each person who enters the house, offering a cheery “hello,” a big smile, and a show of interest in the person’s day.

2. After a family member comes home, make sure to wait at least 15 minutes before asking them for anything or voicing any complaints

3. When someone wants to tell you something, turn toward them, look at them, listen. Nod your head as the person is talking. Pause. Make a comment.

4. Speak softly at all times.

5. Offer unlimited compliments and positive feedback

6. Limit complaints of any kind to one person per evening. The same rule applies to requests.

7. Contribute to the pleasant atmosphere by smiling, using light humor, offering encouragement, helping, humming, expressing gratitude, and otherwise exuding positive energy.

8. Go slowly. Think before you speak. If it’s not nice, don’t say it.


  1. I also like her philosophy but sometimes its a little bit unrealistic. One request per evening, what does that mean? What is a request? “Please pass the milk” “Put your shoes away” “Wipe up that spill.” I can’t imagine any home where there is just one of those a day!

    • I thought it meant a substantial requests like:

      could you please tidy up the living room? or
      could you run to the store to get some milk? or
      would you mind taking out the trash?

  2. I think I am going to print this and I am going to put it on the cupboard door so I can see it when I wash the dishes because that is really the time I feel that I don’t want to stop what I am doing and I aleays have thousands of requests suddenly!
    Thank you for your amazing advice. 🙂

  3. Thank you for this, a gentle reminder that a house is a home, and should be a place for nurturing, a retreat from the outside world and where there should be abundant love, positive encouragement and belief in the individuals that live there.

    Yes, there are the day to day things that need to be done, but as the article insinuatesm its not what is said, it is when and how it is said.


  4. In the spirit of equality, I’d suggest this should be taught equally to men and women, especially the advice to speak softly at all times, I believe it is in Pirkei Avos the advice to a man not to intimidate his wife and children and speak softly.

  5. I think she needs to emphasize an important item, expressing gratitude and appreciation for things that done, or said. It is listed among other things but plays a big role in creating a positive atmosphere. People generally want to do more of things that bring them attention (positive or negative!) If we remember to compliment the positive behaviors we will get lots more of them.

  6. It is not 8 EASY tips!! These are 8, very challenging tips! Sounds easy, but takes a lifetime to perfect.

  7. I agree with Sara. The same thought crossed my mind when I read the article. These tips are not easy at all. It takes a lot of work on oneself to achieve them.

  8. i am a mother of four, thank god. when i am with my family, i field an average of about 50 requests an hour. average…
    any mother knows that.
    so if i am getting 50 requests an hour, and everyone else in the house is getting one request an hour, what is the natural likely outcome?
    no, sorry, i think this is bad advice. also, advice that has nothing to do with a torah lifestyle. in any given moment, the torah requests of each of us several things all at once. deciding that certain members of a household shouldn’t be requested to do things is just bad chinuch. so if i asked my son to wash up for supper i can’t ask him to stop fighting with his sister at dinner? bad chinuch.
    ALSO, requests and complaints should NOT be equated. that just makes women feel guilty for having requests. especially dumb, since most requests made by a mother are for someone else (could someone pour some water for the two-year-old while i nurse the baby? who can open the door? please tell your father someone is on the phone for him, etc.)please, jewish mom, let’s be more responsible with the advice we give

  9. I also found the “one request only” tip utterly ridiculous. If we can’t ask our own family members for help or change, who CAN we ask? Is not the family an incubator for life? If we want to teach our children to be giving, we need to give them the opportunity to give, not merely to ask and receive!! Actually, if you ask me, it was a typo. Probably meant to say ” 10 requests ” !!!!!

  10. funny, typo remark…i think there shpuld be lessons for moms of consecutive chilren, that are less than 2 years apart…i go back and forth blaming myself for not.waiting , or rather not knowing I could wait longer between kids. Like sometimes they entertain eachother so well , I think “wow, thats so cool they are best friends and they’ll always be close cuz they are close in age and have a lot in common….and then there are days when they are all going thru something and hating eachother and I just know that they all just need some mommy time, a walk and talk, an ice cream sundae with just mom..or help w homework, or a book or a puzzle that wont get messed up by the 2 babies that cant seem to get that its meant to be together…so I would apprecoate some food for thought on this also taking into account dads that work late ofyen and israeli school schedules that end at 1pm……now write a list of tips…please!! Ineed it!

  11. Wow Sara, I know what you r going thru!!!! I’m going thru the same thing right now… My husband and I have a good strong cocktail at the end of most days, and remind ourselves that the circumstances of the “triple-whammy” birth bonanza was so extraordinary that it was clearly hashgacha pratit that these souls are ours , even if we sometimes feel we can’t take good enough care of them: one things for sure, as long as their little faces light up when they see me, something must be right!! Hazorim Bedima, Berina Yiktzoru…. From all the tips in the world, you can’t beat simple acceptance of Hashems will. It’s hard, it’s sweet, it’s overwhelming: gam ze yaavor, then let the good
    times roll: I’m sure they will soon be plenty, Amen!!!
    ( I write this after slumping on the couch in stiff-backed exhaustion after yet another “why me?!” afternoon, I just had to try cheer u up!!)

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