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Summer has begun and my eyes are showing some signs of sleeping in. Waking up to crevices of the suns’ light seeping in through the blinds is a peaceful way to wake up.
It’s exactly how nature intended it to be.
Waking in the dark has never made sense to my physical being. And the absence of the vibrating sound of my phone alarm in the darkness improves the start to my day ten-fold.
I love how the lighted summer mornings also allow me to see the wispy eyelash shadows on my daughters’ cheeks as she sleeps in a quiet slumber that would normally be hidden in the dark on school mornings.
I love having peace in my life. It seems you need it even more when things aren’t so peaceful.
My to-do list will keep me from solitude for a portion of the summer. It weaves itself slowly throughout the house from my bathroom to lanai, and my name is written all over it since I am the only adult that lives here. Let it be known that I will have a pretty little eleven year old helper.
I have two kids, but one is an adult. He is twenty-one and is still socially busy since before his pre-puberty days. I see him but never long enough to put him to work. He would if I asked but instead I cherish our rare visits together as talks and relaxing times. With only one child at home now, I don’t have the sibling rivalry, but I have friends that are ready for summer to end and could easily send their kids back to school as we speak.
From past summers, I always found that “grounding” activities kept us more in sync and with more hair left on my head by summers end. There are spiritual definitions of “grounding” but it also occurs easily with basic activities.
In my classroom as a preschool teacher, I keep play bins for my students on a counter for easy access. Sand is messy in a classroom, so instead I keep one bin filled with small gravel and another one filled with dried black-eyed peas, both with either scooping toys or small tractors. So very often, a child will wander over to them and play quietly for long periods of time. You can witness the calm come over them as they play and interact with their classmates. Our hands touching nature is more magical than fun. It is peace inducing.
With the beginning of summer here, putting these ten (10) activities down on your to-do list will help keep you sane and keep your kids grounded.
They are even better when the whole family does them together. Making memories while grounding doubles the benefits!
1. Find a local farm and pick fruit. Touching nature at its best!
2. Make sand castles in the yard or at the beach or park.
3. Build with Popsicle sticks (wood). Let imagination lead the way.
4. Gather leaves from outside of all colors and create a collage by gluing onto paper.
5. Make snow cones (ice = water).
6. Make mud pies. Water and dirt equals major grounding.
7. Find smooth stones in the yard or garden and make Pet Rocks.
8. Build a campfire. Don’t worry that you might not be able to light it. Pretend to make S’mores by
using graham crackers, Marshmallow Fluff and Nutella spread to make Indoor S’mores.
9. Build a Domino maze (wood). Make it travel through the house even longer than my to-do list.
10. Have everyone sketch (charcoal or lead) a picture of their own version of nature.
Gardening is also a great activity with the earth, seeds and water combination. Have a picnic on the lawn or even in the rain! Go swimming. And don’t forget that most sports balls are made of leather. When our children play ball of any kind, they are being grounded even then.
If you have an indoor day because you are tending to your to-do list and you have broken up the tenth argument of the day, drop everything and take them outside, including you. I remember many late nights when one of my babies wouldn’t stop fussing and nothing would soothe them. When the stroller, the car ride or dancing to music didn’t work, I’d finally come to my senses and just take them outside, even if it was 3:00 am. They’d calm the instant the fresh air hit their tiny lungs. Never forget the resources that we have. The outdoors is available in unlimited amounts.
Most of these activities won’t cost a cent and have many benefits of fun, grounding and surely lots of laughter by the time the fun is done. Your children will be calmer and more relaxed if you do it often.
Remember that when school is around the corner again, it comes with new teachers, new classes and possibly a new school which will create a new stress for them. Continue with the grounding activities to help them come back to a peaceful state of mind. And make sure you’re close by to catch the conversations that will happen when they are happy and peaceful and inside their young minds. The best conversations happen then, not when we are trying to pull information out of them on the ride home after a long day at school.
If time-outs and grounding for bad behavior happen at your house, the ”grounding” activities are a good replacement to help children “pull themselves back together again.” You won’t have to discipline as often. Do them the favor, as well as yourself. Happy Grounding! Get dirty and enjoy!
Katherine A. Rayne is a preschool teacher, writer, blogger and author of Back To Being A Woman (Without Changing The Man), a book to inspire and build strong relationships with everyone in our lives, including with ourselves. You can find puzzle-pieces of inspiration on her blog when visiting her website: www.BackToBeingAWoman.com. Follow her on FB and Twitter. Besides her son and daughter, Katherine also has a seven year old Papillion named Muffin who is the warm and fuzzy of her home!
Featured image courtesy of Peter.