In these northern latitudes, going off daylight savings means that at this time of year the sun sets around 4:30 and will get earlier for a while yet. By December 20th, sunset will happen at 4:14. I spent a little time on Time and Date to see the data in chart form. Right now we lose about a minute and a half of daylight each day.
Somehow these numbers do not illuminate the tipping point where it just feels way too dark too early. That happened for me on Saturday. I was returning from moving out the old bookshelves from our major rearrangement and refurnishing of offices and playrooms, and it was dark in a way that made me feel like it was 8:00 PM.
So how do we make our kids feel like it is late afternoon rather than time to crash? On Saturday, we invited some friends over for dinner and ordered out pizza. One and a half crazy hours later, we were ready for bed, and it was a reasonable time to be putting the kids down. The day was saved.
Today, one of my full days with the kids, was packed. I dropped my daughter off at preschool, did some work there attaching some blinds to a shelving unit, took my car to get some overdue emissions stickers updated, stopped by a bakery that I used to go to weekly when I worked at another school, rushed back to school to get my daughter, took a walk with the kids to the library and the local pasta store, made dinner, made bread, did laundry, handled the dinner/bath/bed routine solo, and more. Amidst all that, though, there were a few moments of calm. While the garage was working on my car, I took my son on a walk around a large lake/reservoir. There has been a significant amount of nature restoration on the lands surrounding the the water, and one side of the park, especially, is fairly shielded from traffic noise. He had his morning nap surrounded by cattails, lapping water, birds singing, and fresh air. In the afternoon upon our return from picking up my daughter, I took my son up for his afternoon nap and lay down on the couch. The sun was streaming in the windows, warming me and brightening the room. I awoke quite a while later. I feel like I accomplished enormous amounts today, but those breaks were vital to creating balance and not arriving at 9:00 feeling completely worn out.
Filed under Chores, Nature
We have now fallen into the pattern of asking my daughter, “Tell me something good that happened today,” instead of, “What happened today?” She had become very focused on the negative aspects of the day and how that made her feel. With so much negative focus, it seemed that nothing good happened. Both my wife and I model focusing on the positives, and our daughter is more readily coming up with her own positives, too.
It is a culture change at home, and it makes dinner conversation enjoyable.