Finding the Time, part 1

Finding the time for all of it can sometimes feel impossible. There are so many things that we want to do, and so many things we have to do, and when you add a partner or kids into the mix it all quadruples. So one of the best things I have found to do besides the bigger picture idea of simplifying and figuring out what’s truly important, is to try and combine events as much as possible. Welcome to my blog series: Finding the Time.

So many of us need some quiet, alone time (or even meditation time) but have wild (and adorable) hooligans to entertain. Sometimes it’s just hard to catch a breath, yet sometimes that breath is all that we would need to get re-charged. Here’s one way my family tries to get it done.

We use coloring time to get some quiet time. Our whole family sits at a table with books and plain paper and all kinds of coloring tools. We turn on some music and we color. Sometimes we talk or color a picture together. Sometimes it is completely silent and each of us is wrapped in our own thoughts, or non-thoughts.

I actually recently began coloring mandalas (pictured above), which are spiritual representations of the universe, and my kids jumped right in. To quote my Meditation Coloring Book, ‘Mandalas are ‘sacred circles’, geometric shapes without a beginning or an end. They echo the balance and symmetry of the world around us-from the nucleus of a cell to the structure of a snowflake-and they symbolize harmony, wholeness, and healing.’ Who doesn’t benefit from some quiet time enveloped in that?

It’s an excellent time to work on motor skills and focus for the kids, as well as their need for a quiet and meditative practice. It’s an excellent time for my husband and I to each be quiet, breathe, self-talk or just be. The biggest bonus? We get to all be together while we do it! Can’t get better than that.

Here are a few tips for reluctant colorers:

  • We started out this activity with some giant paper and all drew the same picture together. The kids loved building off of what we drew (giant jungles, or farms, or under the sea) or coloring in some of our animals.
  • Google is great for free coloring printables. Some of our nights have themes where we color all of the characters from Kung Fu Panda (for the millionth time). Right now my older son is coloring Lego characters, cutting them out, and putting them all over his room. Interesting decor, but adorable.
  • Use crayons, colored pencils, markers, thin markers, oil pastels, traingle crayons, dot-a-dots, everything. And if you call them ‘Mommy’s special markers’ they really get a kick out of it.
  • Make a mix of music that they love AND you love. My kids currently know the words to my favorite The Last Revel song, but I am also able to belt out a good Maui, You’re Welcome! Just make sure you all can be interested and not driven insane. There’s also a lot of movies that have some great songs like the Pete’s Dragon song Nobody Knows by the Lumineers, or Elton John’s I’m Still Standing from Sing.
  • Try doing this activity just after you’ve all done something physical. Many times we come in from sledding or a hike and we are all ready for some relaxing, quiet time.
  • Always make sure it’s enjoyable and never give up. If it’s not working, wrap it up and move on, don’t force it. Don’t forget to try it again another time, kids are just like that sometimes.
  • And lastly, sit down and enjoy some coloring even if the family doesn’t. They are always watching you and if you are giving something your attention, they will begin to wonder what it’s all about.

Happy Coloring!


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