In Monday’s post I referenced adding quiet time back into our schedule. As we geared up to begin school again this month, I knew there would be a tendency to dread the grind after such a wonderful holiday season.
I’ve discovered that oftentimes the tone set for our day derives from my attitude. If I’m struggling to find happiness, joy, and delight, it has certainly been known to rub off on the kids.
Part of the problem was that there was very little I was enjoying. That may sound selfish. It did to me when I first had that thought. But, the longer I considered it, the more I realized that the parts of the day I enjoyed weren’t necessarily only for my benefit, or something that was exclusive from the kids, but in fact it seemed to be the opposite. These were activities I enjoyed doing for and with the kids.
The first thing I did was to “clean up” our schedule. I eliminated unnecessary assignments that seemed to be nothing more than time stealers. I focused on what I deemed to be the subjects of highest priority and clarified with the kids which assignments they were capable of completing alone.
I then considered which parts of my day brought life and joy. Here are 3 of the activities I identified.
- I love making a good, hearty breakfast! There is something about being in the kitchen creating a meal that satisfies my families appetite and gives us time to linger over our meal that makes me happy. The majority of the time it consists of some form of eggs: scrambled, over easy, eggs in a nest, maybe a bread: raisin toast, bagel, a side of meat : sausage or turkey bacon, and a banana. I love a good banana! 🙂 Another added bonus of cooking breakfast is that the house smells yummy when we begin school! Our devotion time is usually during breakfast, and it gives us time to eat together and read God’s Word.
- Another activity I try to include as often as possible is read-a-louds. I love reading to my kids! If I had to pick one activity to do over all the others, it would be this one. The 5 of us gather on the couch together as I begin with picture books geared more towards Ellis and then progress into longer books, followed with whatever chapter book we are currently enjoying. Right now we are reading The Trumpet of the Swan. All four kids are enjoying this book. (And so am I!)
- Although there are other aspects of my day that have been adjusted, I wanted to end on this one I mentioned Monday. I first implemented quiet-time when my older boys were younger. They would have a specified amount of time to go to their room, or area of their choice, and play or read quietly for an allotted amount of time. As our family grew in size, quiet-time slowly began to disappear from our schedule. What do I do with a baby who won’t have quiet time? Or a toddler who can’t read or seem to play on their own for longer than 5 minutes? Part of the solution came through training and practice. And honestly, it mostly came with age. The younger ones may not have been able to spend our usual 30 minutes alone, but little by little I was able to increase their time. The “readers” in our family are encouraged (expected!) to use this time to read. Ellis is told she may look through books or play quietly in her room. We are still working on making this a regular part of our schedule. Increasing afternoon activities complicates setting aside this time, but it’s not only good for the kids to slow down, it’s been wonderful for me. It helps to know thay built into my day is a moment to catch my breath, relax, or enjoy uninterrupted time. As a homeschool mom this seems so rare. What I’ve found over all is that this quiet time quiets my soul and allows me to move forward into the next part of our day calmer and re-energized.
Spending time considering what really feeds my soul was important. I knew within each day it helped to have things I looked forward to. These 3 activities, sprinkled throughout our day, provide enjoyment for us all.
If your days are dragging by, and you pull yourself out of bed each day just trying to make it through, consider making a similar list. What are the things you enjoy? What brings life to your spirit? How can you marry these activities with those you interact with on a daily basis?
Even if you are only able to identify one joyful action you want to implement on a regular basis, do it! Begin today!
The kids and I don’t enjoy all 3 of these activities every day. Sometimes we don’t even get to one. But, knowing that the possibilities are there gives me something to look forward to.
I’d love to hear if you decide to add to your day. It may give me one more great idea I hadn’t thought of! 🙂