The week between Christmas and New Years has long been my favorite time of the year. When I was a child, it was a chance to enjoy nonstop the toys I got from Santa before the demands of a school schedule got in the way of my uninterrupted playtime.
At this point in my life, I relish that “week between” as a chance to catch my breath before facing the demands of the New Year. It’s a great time to reflect on lessons learned in the year just ending and to set goals for the year ahead.
Some of life’s great experiences for busy families happen in those “between” times. When you pick your child up from school to drive to a piano lesson, you may have 10-15 minutes of “between” time in the car to hear about your child’s day and get a sense of what may need to be accomplished in the evening after piano. Those minutes reconnect you as you look toward the rest of the evening.
When your child is sick and you pay a visit to the family doctor, there will be a moment between when you are sent to an examining room and when the doctor walks in. In my experience, those between moments frequently offer up a time for deep conversation with kids as they wonder how sick they really are and whether or not this visit will involve a shot.
But my very favorite between times are those quiet moments at home when there is nowhere you have to be and nothing you have to do. Kids need to experience a tiny bit of boredom to connect with their own creativity, and those unscheduled times at home can provide exactly the right setting for that creativity to emerge.
Whether it’s playing soccer in an open hallway with an empty plastic bottle or reciting lines from favorite movies, that down time at home between other activities stimulates kids to make their own kind of fun.
So during this year’s “week between,” reflect on the year past, and plan for a great year to come. After a month of much “doing,” be aware of the great opportunities with your kids as you take time to simply “be.” And watch for the fun to emerge as your kids discover the joys of time between.