With school closures underway, minimal social opportunities and no exams to prepare for this year, your children have had a lot of their familiar taken away. So have you. There is a lot of content available online to facilitate learning at home, but the truth is much of it assumes easy access to supplies, attendance at social events and time to consider your options and commit time to your choice.
I find that our children are happier getting on with things that naturally interest them. It’s no good knowing swimming makes your eldest light up, when they can’t visit the pool. When circumstances change, it’s worth reevaluating what makes a day good for your children and what they enjoyed.
These two additions to our daily life are small-time commitments that help lift a day going sideways.
Each member of our family has a “Happy List.” The content is specific to each person, but it has to be something small and manageable that can be done regularly to lift moods. Our children use their happy lists when they are overwhelmed, cross, or even just bored.
We create a new happy list as the seasons change, or after a big life event, to make sure they are current and relevant. We made new ones today to adapt to being more housebound. Even the baby of the house has his own list.
The content and discussion is the valuable part. How you choose to record everyone’s “quick fixes” is a matter of personal preference. This is how we do it in our house;
Needless to say, the liquid stimulant is on an adult happy list!
We have been using happy lists for a little under a year in our house. Sometimes our children independently go and choose something to help their day along, sometimes my husband and I will suggest they look at them. We have noticed that it encourages everyone to be aware of each other’s moods. Sometimes if one of my daughters is upset, the other will go and check their list to help them out. It’s always a good indication of my visible stress levels too, when my children ask “Mama, what’s on your happy list?”
The happy lists do require a little time to put together. This next small change is verbal and completely preparation free.
Each evening, when the children are ready for bed, we ask everyone to talk about their favourite part. My children’s answers are not always what I expect. Sometimes they do answer with whatever stand out activity we did that day, but not always.
We ask what their favourite part has been come rain or shine, on good days, aimless days and food shop days.. Nine times out of ten our younger daughter names a food she ate. Such is life.
We have found that discussing our favourite part of the day can really help identify what each of your family members finds valuable and appreciates. It might be a little something that is really easy to do more of. It might be a special part of that one day.
Regularly being home all day can get monotonous and with the closure of more and more public places and the cancellation of activities, I expect this will only increase. Personally, I enjoy focusing on a little gratitude at the end of the day and it does help to define one day from another.