By Paula Sirois
“This school year will be different.”
We all say this to ourselves every year. We all hope that this year we’ll be organized and prepared and on top of the schedules and sports and homework and lunches and chaos. This year we will wake earlier and get dressed and brushed and find shoes and socks without incident. We will eat healthier and organic and local and gluten free and listen to NPR or classical music on the way to school. We’ll all gather around the dinner table at night and have conversations about global topics while quizzing one another on Latin vocab words.
Ha, who am I kidding, right? But there’s something there. Something about trying to do better every year and uncover some system that brings happiness and togetherness. That’s when it hit me. How about instead of focusing on processes and food we focused on family and fun instead?
Here’s the idea — and feel free to customize it for your own family:
Grab a blank piece of paper and draw three columns. Label them A, B and C. The first column should focus on home, family and friends. The B column should be about physical activity and fun, and the C column should be about learning and education. Every day pick one thing from each column. On Monday my son might pick from the A column, my daughter the B and I would pick from the C column. And every day we would do the three things. Just think of the possibilities and fun and learning!
So if on Monday we picked “donate bin” from A and “volleyball” from B and “world history” from C that would mean we would all run around our rooms looking for things we can donate to Goodwill and drop them in the donate bin box or bucket by the front door. After coming back from our donation run, we would play a game of volleyball on our front yard before dinner and then later, after homework was complete, we would spend 10 minutes or so learning something interesting about world history — either something in the news today or something from the past.
Tuesday would be a whole different set of fun. Maybe we’d do a little yoga and then sprinkler games followed up by some astronomy.
I believe I have hit onto the key to life. Have choices. Make the choices a combination of necessary (cleaning, giving, helping), fun and healthy (running, biking, playing) and educational (art, psychology, Spanish).
Yes. This is how we should all live our lives. Sure, you can change up the lists and maybe even add another column or two. But to start, three is good and doable. If you give each one a 10-minute deadline, it’s only a half hour of your life a day. And I bet your life will be better for it.
30 MINUTES OF FUN
Power 10 minute de-cluttering
Call an old friend or family member
Food prep (breakfast, lunch or dinner)
List 3 ways your family members are awesome
Poker or card games
Apologize to someone
Help someone anonymously
Review money goals
Make a craft
Thank you letter
Race on street
Mini Iron Man race
Read newspaper column out loud and discuss
Read from classic text