A Cup of Hot Chocolate a Day Keeps the Doctor Away!

kate and anna

This title is a little inaccurate because we are actually averaging just a tad more than this. And, when you add on some marshmallows, cookies, cupcakes, and brownies, we are definitely having our daily allowance of sugar and then some. With freezing temperatures and lots of sledding, we need to keep the metabolism up, though!

This past week has been filled with weather predictions, cheers for no school, sledding with friends, movies, laziness, and more treats. It’s just what the doctor ordered. Freezing streets and catastrophic road warnings have forced us to stay put and     keep it simple. Fortunately, the kids have friends across the street and the neighbors offer their backyard as a great sledding hill. It’s all they really want: friends, playtime, and treats. So simple.

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While the parents start getting antsy and going stir-crazy, the kids are quite content to keep it simple and stay home. It’s even more exciting to all considering the alternative, a rushed, tiring school week. It’s playtime every day, something that is often missing from our children’s normal school day. Our kids are making their own decisions about what they will do, what they will play, and how they will play.

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We are hearing more and more about the benefits of free, unstructured play to children yet it’s disappearing from the school day. Recess is a reward and also a punishment at school. Kids who don’t finish their work sit on the ‘wall’ or loose minutes of the 20 minute-playtime because they didn’t sit still and follow directions inside. While we know there is benefit to including movement into learning, teachers feel they don’t have time and rush, rush, rush, sometimes missing recess to continue working. I have only known one amazing teacher to routinely build movement into her daily routine, taking the children out every day for left/ right-brain stretching and exercise mid-morning as a brain break. Her classroom was such a calm atmosphere too. She was voted ‘teacher-of-the-year’ by her peers. It’s not that some teachers don’t want to do this; they just don’t feel like there’s time. It’s always rushing.

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We all need a break from the grind! And, that’s what we’ve all had this week. Freedom! Making decisions like sled or snowboard, what movie to watch, what book to read, marshmallows or not, and when to eat lunch are the most pressing choices. Kids are happier when there are some choices, parents are happier when we don’t have to rush around, and teachers just want  a break! So, cheers to playtime anytime you choose. Stay warm and play on!

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