These Four Walls

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I laid out a maze all over the floor and set tasks for the children. Here Mouse and Buggle are racing to pick up pom-poms with salad tongs, without getting out of the lines!

I laid out a maze all over the floor and set tasks for the children. Here Mouse and Buggle are racing to pick up pom-poms with salad tongs, without getting out of the lines!

It is said that a change is as good as a rest! I’m starting to see the truth in that after spending so much time within these walls this winter!

The new house is bigger than the old house and we have more space for play and for being alone to read or reflect but restless energy that can fill this house at times is amazing!

I tend towards restlessness anyway but I know it’s time for a change when the children are continually running the loop from the dining room through the living room, across the foot of the stairs, through the kitchen and back to the dining room!

I used to think that there was something really wrong with how unsettled we all could get if we stayed home too much, but I’m learning that a change of scene can be a gift and desiring such a change doesn’t necessarily mean that we are falling into discontent.

I find if my attitude is one of finding us something to do that expends energy, and refreshes us for home life, that going out somewhere can be a real encouragement to finish the schoolwork for the day. It’s when I’m feeling tired of my life and use going out as an excuse to escape my life for a few hours that leaving the house fails to encourage and intensifies my discontent.

Like so many other things in life it is the attitude of the heart that makes the difference. The children pick up on my attitude and make their own attitude choices and these four walls can feel cramped and confining or be a good base from which to set out into the world.

So in this winter of 2014 when it seems like winter has been going on forever, here are a few things we do to revitalize our life together:

  • Sing! Sometimes church music, sometimes children’s songs, sometimes random, funny songs we make up as we go. Listen to music too, but sing even if you feel you are making more of a “joyful noise” than a tune. Singing engages the mind and heart in a way that listening cannot.
  • Dance or at least march around the house! Do this with the children, it will be good for your mood too and when you do it with them there will be far fewer quarrels. We like dancing to the playlists on Youtube of Sousa marches, Irish jigs, and polkas
  • Visit the library. We go for books but also take in special programs and events. Each reader in the family has their own card and we often check out the maximum number of books on several cards.
  • Go for a walk even when the weather is nasty. Obviously you’ll want to use common sense here but it is possible to bundle everyone up and go out for ten minutes of vigorous exercise then come back in. Yes, you’ll probably spend more time getting people in and out of coats and boots than you actually spend outside but everyone will benefit from the fresh air!
  • Engage in sensory play. There are numerous recipes and ideas on Pinterest for different kinds of doughs (the little boys love cloud dough in a tray with their construction vehicles) and other sensory items and most of them clean up with a wet rag or a vacuum. ?A little more work for you (although young children frequently love to run the vacuum and that can be part of the sensory experience) but it can be a change of pace that helps break up the days

These are just a few of the things we can do to re-energize and encourage ourselves and our children. What are some of your ways of breaking up the winter weeks?

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