The Most Important Activity Moms Forget to Schedule

We all live such busy lives where everyday is packed with non-stop activities — even for children. Across Houston, children are constantly rushing to soccer practice, piano lessons, exam tutoring, swim lessons, birthday parties, school performances, family visits, basketball with friends, and more. While these myriad activities are aimed at enhancing children’s growth and making them well-rounded individuals, we sometimes forget to give our children time and space for self-reflection. After all, without it the importance and meaning of all their activities might get lost in a whirlwind of “doing.” Consider this: When was the last time you and your kids had a clear schedule to spend time together? For many of us, the recent holidays gave us some brief moments to slow down and engage {in between cooking and entertaining!}. Some of us played board games, or watched football. Others found the time to go out for walks to burn off some holiday treats and have a quiet moment. For me, the suspension of my children’s daily routine really showed me how crazy our schedules usually are, and it reinforced how necessary it is not only to “do” but also to reflect on what we do and to find meaning in it. As a Head of School, I watch parents struggle every day with their desire to make sure their children experience as many of the opportunities available to them as possible, while also worrying about whether or not their children are over-scheduled and excessively stimulated. As a mother, I face the very same struggles. At The Village School, we seize every opportunity available to enhance our students’ educations, but we also incorporate space for reflection and time for personal thought — our children would be overwhelmed by the world around them if we did not. Beyond the small natural breaks we enjoyed during the holiday season, I encourage all parents to make time for this type of downtime and reflection on a regular basis. Let’s make the space to engage with one another more deeply and think about what we’re doing everyday so that we can explore the deeper meaning. Here are some suggestions ::

Meaningful Meals

Make a rule that family dinners take place at least twice per week and no electronics are allowed at the table {that includes parents!}. This will force every member of the family to really be present.

Sunday Strolls

Designate passive family time every Sunday for a walk in the park or around your neighborhood; again, with no electronics for anyone. This will help you all open your eyes to the world around you and spend time to explore together.

Team Cooking

Pick a day once a week where the family cooks a meal together. It’s a good chance to catch up, discuss anything that’s on your mind, and do something that yields a functional and edible result!

Board Games

Pick a weekend night to play a board game. Personally, I always love to play Monopoly and Pictionary with my husband and boys.

Puzzle Time

Take a table in the house and make it the Puzzle Table. Five months is the record in my family for how long we kept a puzzle going. It’s during these moments when the mind and body are allowed to relax, our children have an opportunity to question and reflect on their day, their week, their friends/relationships, their surroundings, and what’s happening in the world. It’s these moments that will allow both parent and child to determine what’s working, what isn’t, what has meaning, and what doesn’t. In hindsight, is there something you regret, or wish you did differently today? Were there mistakes you made and did you learn anything from them? Ask yourselves, and your children, these types of questions to foster a deeper conversation. As technology and transportation make it easier to schedule and seize every opportunity that presents itself, what good are we doing our children if we don’t provide time to consider the opportunities they do seize? Everything we do has meaning, but we need to do a better job of carving out the space to explore and ruminate on what that meaning is. And if we do that, we’ll help better develop our children into well-rounded adults, whose “doing” has purpose.

Gabriella - BioAbout Gabriella R.

Gabriella Rowe {@gabriella_rowe} is the Head of School for The Village School, the largest private school in Houston. The Village School serves Pre-K 2’s through 12th graders and has an international student body, with students representing six continents and more than 50 countries.  Rowe is a sought-after thought leader in blended learning, standards based teaching, and 21st century skills with a particular emphasis on the teaching of girls and young women toward leadership roles in science, engineering, and technology. Rowe is a frequent contributor to blogs and publications including The Huffington Post, The Houston Chronicle, and The New York Times.

Please Note :: While this may be a sponsored post, we are so honored to have Gabriella guest blog for us and share her insight and expertise with the moms of Houston through our platform!


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