Lately, I’ve been working on using gaming to help me form good habits. Sound crazy? I probably am.
Several years ago, I had an addiction to playing puzzle games, like CandyCrush, on my phone way too much. So, I deleted all the games, made myself start crocheting instead of gaming, and made a big pile of hats, scarves, and blankets.
But recently, I added a game like that back to my phone. I have a morning routine of playing a turn while I drink my coffee. It helps my brain wake up and prepare for the day. I play for only a level or 2, no more than 10 minutes. If I lose, I lose, and if I win, I win. But either way, I quit and get back to real life after I play a level.
I do enjoy the rush of defeating a level that I’ve spent a few days struggling with. I can’t deny that when the little game tells me I’m wonderful, I like it. I also like how I feel in control of my gaming. Feeling both satisfied and in control is something most of us want in life and it can be very hard to find.
Building a Routine
Over the last year, I’ve worked at developing a morning routine that works well for me. My coffee, my game, my time to write and ease into my day all work together to help me stay grounded.
My next goal is to help my children find a better way to start their days. Each child really needs to have their own routine and that can be hard to adjust for. My teenager also enjoys her coffee and a combo of gaming and social media to start her day. My middle-schooler needs a while to wake up before he’s ready to talk to anyone. The youngest has always woken up ready to start her day with a vengeance.
Adding Breaks into Our School Day
For my 11- and 9-year-old, I have made a renewed effort to make puzzles and games part of our homeschooling. Before we start serious writing or book work, I like to have them warm up by doing a maze, dot-to-dot, hidden picture puzzle, word search or brain teaser. Getting their brain to be more alert by feeding it this fun, random activity each morning helps them get ready to learn. Putting the pencil in their hands in a non-threatening way warms them up for writing.
I’m also making a puzzle app on my phone part of our rhythm of breaks between classes. When they were tiny, a good break for them was all about physical activities, but now that they are older, a mental break of a few minutes seems just as helpful. Working a puzzle, popping the bubbles or lining up the candies lights up different parts of the brain than our math and history lessons. These little breaks help them change gears and get us through our lessons with less whining. Sometimes we need to transition to a snack break before we can complete our school work, too. At least some things never change.
What kinds of breaks do you take in your homeschool? Tell me about them!
About the Author
Laura Sowdon, OTR/L is an occupational therapist, writer, speaker, educator and creator of the Five Senses Literature Lessons homeschool curriculum. She has worked as an occupational therapist with children in public and private schools, as well as private practice. Laura has taught and managed homeschool co-ops as well as homeschooling her own three children. Laura is dedicated to the idea of educating children at a pace that aligns with brain and physical development milestones and respects neurodiversity in all its forms.