Yesterday the mood at my house was not light and summery. After a long day of various outdoor activities, the kids came home hot and tired… and cranky. My kids are not video game enthusiasts. We have a Gameboy, a Leapster and wii but they are only sporadically used. TV is the big draw. The black hole. I put limits on the TV. Chores, homework, drum practice must be done before getting to veg out in front of the TV just as I do what is required of me before being able to finally sit down and relax at the end of the night. Truthfully, when my husband isn’t around, I rarely even watch at night preferring books and hitting the pillows early.

Back to yesterday. Without my full awareness of what was transpiring, the television was turned on (prior to responsibilities being met) and quickly voices began to rise and fighting ensued. It was the perfect opportunity to have the punishment reflect the crime and, after three warnings, the TV was turned off for the rest of the day which soon (after much to do about nothing) became the rest of the week.

I find TV to put my kids in a time stopping trance until it is turned off which then sends moods to the ugly and negative side—fighting, whining, cries of boredom. This dark mood ran between all of us for quite a while. My son and daughter went out to pick wild raspberries in our yard. Hooray! An activity for the two of them to share! Screams again ensued and the peace shattered once again. What to do to get all of us working/playing TOGETHER. Nicely.

I remembered a yoga game which I first played years ago (I mean YEARS ago) back at day camp called “Ha!”. One person lies down, the next person lies down and puts their head on the first person’s stomach and then another person lies down with their head on the second person’s stomach. This can be done with a large or small group. The first person shouts “Ha!”. The next person shouts “Ha, Ha!” with each person the Ha! shout is increased. This usually begins to create some real laughter. I tried it with my surly gang at home last night. We all were upstairs feeling angry and alone. I gathered the troops and got into position on the floor. Everyone joined me and we began our round of  “Ha!”. It worked. The giggles started and the mood lifted and from there we all were able to start our evening over again feeling more lighthearted and connected.

We ended our night playing a great game that my daughter got for her birthday called Scaventure Kids. It is a game that gets teams of all different ages (both kids and adults) working together. Each team picks 8 cards which have four instructions on them. The teams have 30 minutes to collect each item and accomplish all tasks.

An example of one card is:
1. Write a new tongue twister. Say it at the rendezvous.
2. Make a maze out of dirt.
3. Find a pencil that is not yellow on the outside.
4. Find a flag.

We had a fun time first as individuals competing and then working as one team trying to finish in a much shorter time. The night ended with reading out loud together and then reading quietly together—feeling connected and at peace—a family united.