We’re home with our kids. What is something that’s been on your list that you’ve been meaning to do with them? Finish a project/craft (we have 4 half-finished Kiwico boxes sitting on a shelf in our living room right now 😆)? Plant those seeds you got and start a garden? Clean up a room? Actually set a daily schedule so you’re not spending 75% of your time during the day in front of a screen between homework/work and games/shows and then feeling wonky when it comes to bed time from lack of moving around (hand raised and waving here)?
One of the (numerous!) things on my list is getting us into a daily routine where we’re getting outside and playing some of the games we’ve been meaning to during the day, in addition to their school work and current favorite computer games (Prodigy and Wizard 101). I appreciate technology — but I know I feel like shit when I’ve spent the day in front of a screen. And my kids get super whiny and fight, so I suspect it makes them feel like shit, too.
Yesterday I was reminded of the impact of a small step.
I’d hoped I’d make time to go and update the daily schedule document I’d created two weeks ago to account for the at home learning curriculum their teachers were now sending. Updating this doc seemed like the logical next step for creating a more current daily routine and making it happen. However, the morning saw me getting swept away (again) in helping them with their school work while trying to fit in my own work. I felt like the day was already getting away from me. I wondered if it’d be yet another day swept away in work and screen time. I was groaning and getting annoyed and feeling stress and shoulds and overwhelm and annoyance lap at the edges.
And I hate how that feels. HATE.
Around 11am, I told myself that we’d just try to get outside and take a break for a bit. Forget updating the document for the moment. Forget figuring out what our schedule should contain. We’d just get outside. I didn’t want to (I was making progress — finally! — on my own work). But the kids had been on the computer for quite some time and were getting to the crossroads of “fine, keep playing because I’m actually getting stuff done after helping you and now feel like I HAVE to keep working or I’ll never make progress”.
After playing some soccer in our yard, we came back inside and read for a little bit (I’ve been reading them the series starting with My Teacher is an Alien — I loved these books as a kid and thought they might, too, which they do). And then they played more of a computer game and I worked a bit longer before lunch. And that was the bulk of the schedule effort I got to for the day.
YOU KNOW WHAT?? It made a difference. The baby step of getting us outside in the morning? It made a difference. The rest of the day felt smoother and more chill. We actually got to some other non-computer games and cleaning up (like the game of Life and folding laundry) during the day — happily (relatively!). It was awesome.
No, I didn’t get the schedule drafted or figure out exactly how to coordinate all of the pieces we’d like to work on. However, we did something. And it made a difference in the flow of the day. (And it also, somehow, helped me get a little more clear on what we actually need (or don’t) in our schedule to keep our sanity + more confidence in helping make it happen, with or without a written up schedule doc.)
Little things can make a huge impact.
So my question to you: What would be useful for you to try today? What super simple thing in the direction you want to go can you try today?
It’s not about getting the entire way there or doing it “right” or “perfect”. We don’t need to complete the whole thing right now. A next useful step…just might be useful.
We’ve got the time. Let’s try a baby step. It might be really useful. We just might love what comes of it. (Or at least that we tried!)