How To Get Organized (For Creatives)

I’m a highly organized and structured person. I’m also (even more) highly creative, abstract in thinking, and inspired every few minutes. I have millions – no, billions – of ideas, and I see things in pictures when I imagine them. My two year old walks around declaring, “I HAVE AN IDEA!” – I am much like him. I do the same thing. My wife even promised to listen to all of my ideas in her wedding vows.

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My latest acrylic piece, Educating The Heart.

These two sides of my brain (or maybe it’s my personality?) don’t always get along, but when they work together, future versions of myself are thankful.

As Creatives, having organization systems in place are really the only way to stay on track. Realistically, I can only complete so many projects in any given amount of time. I’m a full time teacher, a fuller time parent and husband, and I no longer have the ability to forget about sleeping. When ideas and inspiration hit, I need some way of tracking all of this so that I can actually follow through on the better ideas.

I’m not going to pretend I’ve got it figured out. I don’t. But Past Patrick has definitely found some ways of helping out Present and Future Patricks.

Here are my top ten tips for getting, and staying organized, creatively:

  1. Use email. Don’t delete emails to yourself! I often begin looking in my email for something that I am vaguely aware of making. I often find an image or word file that I sent to myself, and when I fall out of control on keeping up with my submission tracking for books, I check my emails (because I never delete any) for dates and notes.
  2. Start using a cloud-based storage system for creative work. I love Google Drive. It’s easy, I can drag and drop and I can access it anywhere. This means, if I find 10 minutes that I steal on my lunch at work, I can open it up and work. It means I can organize everything into files that work for me and not only do that when I’m at my personal computer.

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    “I Can & I Will” – available in my shop now!
  3. Organize as you go. It’s a pain sometimes, yes, but future you will be grateful. You might say, “Okay, this manuscript is for a picture book … it will be the first thing I put in a Picture Book Manuscripts In Progress folder.” Then, begin placing all of those types of manuscripts in that file. Put a sticky note on your computer/desk/wall/wherever you work most, so that you can recall where on earth did I save that stuff? The more you use it, the more likely it is to become a habit.I’m not an expert – my files are generally pretty wild. But I’ve been slowly working at this.

    I decided to start with my 2016 Writing Files. I organized my Google Drive by making a folder called “Writing” (I know, I know, we all have 18 of those). Then, inside I had been just popping in every new version of every manuscript, it was loaded with picture book dummies and submission tracking pages and idea lists. I organized it by creating subfolders: Works in Progress, and within that, “Middle Grade,” “Young Adult,” and “Picture Books”; I also created subfolders called “Finished Manuscripts” and within that subfolder, another folder for each completed manuscript, with everything required for submitting.

    The main idea was to clean up the main folder so that when I click into, I’m not overwhelmed and/or more importantly distracted by all of the files I’m working on!

  4. Make a gosh darned list. PRINT IT OUT. And keep an electronic copy updated. I don’t do this every day. In fact, it was August when I printed out my “master list” of current picture book ideas that are writeable/publishable (by my standards). I’ve been scribbling notes and ideas on and around it since then. I recently opened the electronic file and updated it. I’ve reprinted and now I will work from there. Because I saved it in a logical spot – on my Google Drive, in the Writing folder, in the subfolder “Works in Progress”, I will be able to find it more easily. If I can’t find it later, I can use the search option – because Google Drive syncs with my desktop app, and it is easy to search just about anywhere.(Note: Google is not paying me to amp up their Drive app. I just love it. Google has way better reach than I do!)
  5. Keep one “to do” notebook near your workspace. I tend to jot ideas and notes anywhere and everywhere. I try to jot those down in my To Do notebook, so that when I’m stuck or uninspired, I can just flip through the book.
  6. how-to-get-organized-for-creatives-patrick-guindon-art-2Be intentional. Name your files something you’ll remember; something that is explicit and maybe even long, using descriptive words that you know you will probably think of to describe the project. “MGWIP” is not a great file name for your untitled middle grade work in progress. “Middle Grade WIP – MG WIP – Boy Gets Lost In Woods” might be better (uh, if it’s about that).Also be intentional with your time. See tip #8.
  7. Sync everything to the same email account. If you’re going to use gmail, then when emailing yourself, email to that account. Sync your notes in your phone to that email. Sync your calendars so that you can schedule for yourself, and the reminder will show up everywhere. It simply takes a lot of work out of your searches.
  8. Take the time. It means that sometimes, you have to set aside 30 minutes to go through files. It also means that you need to make a decision about what you’re going to do and when. Sometimes, we can leave it to inspiration and that “pull” to a certain project – but when you’ve got lots of projects on the go, you need to have a plan. Maybe you wake up early to get more time in, or maybe you schedule out a few nights a week. You have to do what works for you, but you also have to do the work.
  9. Have a partner. This is someone who will hold you accountable. For me, it’s my art critique partner. In November, we were both feeling overwhelmed with all the things we WANTED to do, but were never getting to. We agreed to email rather than message a weekly to-do list. We send this on Sundays, usually, and then at the end of the week, we also send a little reflection. This is where we talk about how we did and how we’re feeling about it. Did we take on too much? Too little? We also make a conscious effort to keep the stories out of it. No excuses – we either did the work, or we didn’t.We decided to email because we regularly are in contact through messaging. It would be impossible to find the list at the end of the week, and there is something about the not-immediate pace of email that pushes us to pause, think, and reflect more carefully.
  10. Change. When your system isn’t working – when you can’t find something, or anything; when you are constantly overwhelmed; when you have nothing to show for a month of work – then it is time to change your system.

 

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How (& Why) I Became a Morning Person

I’ve always wanted to be a morning person. I’ve read book after book for creative people saying, “If you get up before anyone else, you’ll get more done!” I knew it was probably true, but I told myself the same story: I’m NOT a morning person.

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From my Instagram. 🙂

WANT TO KNOW HOW AND SKIP THE WHY? Scroll down to the lists – the #1 MOST IMPORTANT TIP is the last one! 🙂

The thing is, I used
to be a night person. But after having one baby, I was no longer a night person. I wasn’t a morning person. I was a “from 10am to 2pm” person. The rest of the time? Exhausted!

Something had to change. I wasn’t working regularly enough and I wasn’t getting to the never-ending list of ideas I had. I knew I wanted to work on them, and I knew I didn’t want to wait until retirement, or summer break, or the weekend, or the next lifetime to get to these ideas.

And then … we had another baby.

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Isn’t he just perfect? I would eat him up if I could.

I realized deeply, in my gut and my heart and my soul, that my time for creating could easily slip away. My very “ness” was at risk. With one kid, you’ve got time. There are naps, there’s after bedtime, there’s whenever Mommy takes him so that I can create. But with two? Nope. That time was waiting to be sucked up. Pooping on different schedules, napping on different schedules, eating at different times? I knew that eventually it would even out (we aren’t there yet) and that I would have some more time to work on my creative endeavours, but I also knew that if I got into the habit of NOT making, then starting again would be very difficult.

So, I decided it was time to invest in inspiration, and not production. The result would be improved productivity, but the intention was simply to steal some time to work for ME. (I mean, all art should be worked on for the artist, right?)

I bought a book on creative business, from Kelly Rae Roberts, and I set to work reading it. This is how week 1 of becoming a morning person started.

  • Week 1: Read every morning for 30 minutes before everyone else wakes up. For our house, that meant 5:30. That meant, I needed to get a short haircut and shower at night, instead of in the morning. At 5:30, when I rolled out of bed, I would have 30 minutes to read before Kingsley would be waking up and I would be getting him ready for his day.
  • Week 2: Continue reading every morning, but keep a sketchbook near by. Inspiration was starting to come by, because I kept showing up … even on the weekend. Inspiration wanted to flirt. (Inspiration is a sassy one!)
  • Week 3: Back the time up by 10 minutes. This meant I was rolling out of bed by 5:20, and making my way downstairs by 5:25. But, then my book finished. So now what?!
  • Week 4: Make it 5:15 and work on a list. I made a deal with my critique partner, and told her I would be emailing her on Sunday night with my To Do list for the week. I kept it manageable and interesting: work on this manuscript, work on those thumbnail illustrations, develop ideas for this sequence, etc. Nothing that was too heavy, but something that was meaningful enough to bother with so early in the morning. I also told her I would be checking in again on Friday to let her know how my list went. We agreed that this would NOT include stories – those stories that let you off the hook or excuse laziness. If I didn’t do something, I would say I didn’t, and that would be that.
  • Week 5: Keeping it at 5:15. Continuing with the list. Making space in my time for reflecting and meditating on myself.

And now, it’s a habit. So I continue to back it up, and will continue doing so until I am at my desk, working, at 5am on the dot.

So that it is all easy and nice to say, but what did I do to really make it work? I had tried in the past and nothing worked. I really think that the pressure I put on myself, to feed my soul, with 2 kids – to keep making and doing and being myself – to find the time and space to do this – to not let go of it – is what pushed me the most.

But these tips … I wish I’d had them before:

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    No – eating cupcakes at 5am is not a recommended practice for becoming a morning person!

    Reading something inspiring helped with the first 2 weeks, as I was forming this new habit and setting down the foundation for my new “morning person-ness” (I didn’t let myself read any other time, so I was hungry for it!)

  • Setting up the night before: I always set the coffee maker and timer now. At first, I even put the mug and spoon out so that all I had to do was pour. You really want to treat yourself and get to know all the little hooks you’ll let yourself off of, so that you can stop it before it happens. Think of it as time travel.
  • Checking my list the night before. This helps me keep it in my head so that when I wake up, I know what I am about to go and do. There is no sit-and-wonder-which-project-to-work-on time.
  • Putting out what I’ll need: tomorrow, I’ll be working on wrapping up a chapter of a middle grade novel I am about half way into writing. It is a hard scene and I have told myself stories about it. I realized tonight that it is fear feeding this beastly excuse-making I’ve been doing. Tomorrow, I’m writing. My computer is set up for it, and the file is open and waiting to be written on. On days when I sketch,
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    Setting up the night before is a huge improver for morning productivity. In addition, invest in yourself by prepping the things you know you will soon need – here you can see several prepped canvasses, waiting for me to steal some time to work on them.

    I make sure that everything I will need is ready, including WHAT I am sketching. If it’s a painting day, the paint is out and ready. There is no wondering and waiting that happens.

  • Keeping accountable with a partner who will keep me accountable. (It helps when it is a mutual agreement – it’s nice to be on both sides of the fence/in both roles, so that it feels balanced and your different voices are heard!)
  • This one is the most important. Weekends are archaic! In parenting world, they are busy and wild and chaotic. If you want to be a morning person, then there is no sleeping in on Saturday. For me, sleeping in means I feel guilty, I feel groggy, and I struggle for a week to get back to waking up early. I may go a bit easier on myself, because I make my To Do lists for Monday-Friday, but I still work on something. At the very least, I am up, breathing and centring and reminding myself that it is going to be a great day.
  • THIS ONE IS MAYBE MORE IMPORTANT! Sleep according to sleep cycles. I use http://www.sleepyti.me, and I just check it before bed. I want to make sure I’m waking up BETWEEN sleep cycles and not in the middle of. THIS has made the BIGGEST difference to my overall feelings of being awake and refreshed!

 

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Making Art: On Stolen Time

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These canvasses were prepped in 5-10 minute chunks of time that I found during the kid’s naps, after their bedtime, and while I was waiting for my computer to update itself. Now they are ready when it is time for the actual work of painting.

Stolen Time is probably the only way to get stuff done if you are busy – busy at work, living a full family life, busy with a million hobbies. Because that is how we do.

Stealing time has been my only strategy to get creative work done. It forces me to be efficient, to spend time on the projects that matter to my heart and soul, and to focus on doing things that I truly, desperately want to do.

Here is how I do it:

  •  I check blog data and share promo stuff when I get into the car, before I put on a Podcast for the drive to/from work. This takes me about 2 minutes and then it’s done. I also do this during lunch breaks, while in waiting rooms, or any other moment that seems too long sit and twiddle my thumbs, but too short (and not the right spot) to get into something big. As I write this, in fact, I am waiting for my students to come in; the gap between when everything is prepped and the bell ringing (about 2 minutes – this post has taken me five different sessions of stolen time, including prolonged bathroom visits, waiting time, and student arrival time).
  • I jot ideas for new blogs in my drafts section, on my phone app for WordPress – this saves me a lot of think-time when I sit to write, and I can do it in any stolen moment I can find.
  • I schedule blog posts, Facebook posts and prepare Instagram posts in my camera roll, so that I am not needing to stop and do it throughout the day. You know, having a full time job means you probably shouldn’t be doing that all day long.
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This wolf was designed in 5 minute chunks of crazy sketching over a few months. He isn’t the final version, but is a closer render to the “final” one. 5 minutes here and there add up, and they add up fast.
  • I sketch on my lunches (when I can), in the morning while I eat breakfast or before anyone else is up, and in the few quiet moments of a longer-than-expected nap that a kid is having. I try to keep sketch work to medium amounts of time, unless I’m in a sketching season. It’s all very fluid.
  • I keep a sketchbook nearby so I can jot down ideas and rough thumbnails for when they come. Otherwise, I don’t remember. This helps with momentum, and motivates me to follow up during a bigger chunk of time. I find notebooks are too limiting for my creativity these days, but I keep those around too, for when my ideas become more formal and I want to scratch out sample lines and proes by hand.
  • I don’t make excuses. I know that if I can sit and watch six episodes of The Gilmore Girls on Friday night, I can steal some of that time and get something done. It might be while I watch, or I might turn off the TV after only two episodes. But no excuses – if I don’t  get something done because I was vegging out, then that’s what I did. I realize this tip isn’t in particular about stealing time, but the more time we spend telling stories, the less time we spend making. So – no more stories.
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I did the wolf, after the sketches, in Photoshop. I started by opening and saving a new file. Another time, I sketched in the form. Another time, I worked on different fur treatements. It took about 5-6 different “stolen time” sittings to move the sketches to the (sort of) final version.
  • I get up earlier. More on HOW to do this in a future post, but I have found getting up 30-60 minutes earlier than usual (and before everyone else), EVERY DAY, has made my creative work flow, feel more productive, feel more sacred. I am stealing this time from my Sleeping Self, and as a non-morning person, I am so happy that I do this every single day.
  • I go to bed later. Okay, I am not talking about staying up til midnight if you have to get up at 5. I’m talking about taking the last 30-60 minutes of your normal evening and using that time for something other than TV, scrolling through Facebook and Twitter and Instagram, or whatever else, and use it for good. Read. Sketch. Write. Breathe. But steal that time back.
  • Stealing time should not include stealing time from family, relationships and yourself. I need to give my whole self to my kids and my wife. I need to give myself a break sometimes. I need to binge-watch GG, mindlessly scroll through Facebook and see what’s up on Twitter. Just not all the time. And again, stealing time doesn’t mean “My kid is playing over there so I can write a blog post while he plays because he isn’t talking to  me right now.”

Stolen time has been when my greatest, weirdest, most exciting ideas have surfaced. I highly encourage you to steal a bit of time, too.

How do you steal time? Let me know in the comments, by email or on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter!

Did you know that I’m on Instagram? I’m also on Facebook and have a website – you can even sign up for my newsletter there! You can email me at patrick@patrickg.ca. Please like, follow and share my posts if you’re feeling them, and have a creative day!

Crayons, Watercolor & Young Artist Trading Cards

img_0952In my last post, I reflected on the creativity process through the eyes of a parent of a toddler. I included some photos and I wanted to make a separate post that would go over what he was doing, exactly.

This activity is easy, cheap and has no end in sight. It can be repeated and adjusted in infinite ways, for kids or even for adults. WOOHOO!

The first thing I did was set up a space where Kingsley could create without ruining anything too much. By anything, I mean our furniture, walls, and floors. But let’s face it, life with a toddler means you’ve signed a contract with the Universe saying you’re okay with those things being ruined. Also, our floors need to be replaced so we really don’t care that much.

Regardless, I took an old piece of large paper (it had been used to pack some breakable products at Winners) that he had already painted on, and used blue painter’s tape to stick it to the table.

We use that tape because it comes off easily 14732206_10101546058839211_5914960353798645535_nand leaves no gunky mess.

I like this paper because it’s FREEEEEEEE and big. Did I mention it’s free? I love free.

Next, I took two full pieces of watercolor paper from the studio and cut each into four. Simple scissors, nothing fancy. I basically created oversized trading cards for him.

Why? He’s 2, so he swished the paint around and then wants to move on. I was going to be making supper while my wife nursed the baby, and we needed him occupied and doing something worthwhile.

Plus, he said he wanted to paint. Knowing that he works for short bursts, I decided to use the same amount of paper I normally would, but by splitting it I bought more time. It also looks different than what he’s used to, which has a certain allure for anyone, 2 or 90!

I taped the paper down to the big paper underneath, using a donut wad of blue painters tape. It was simply to keep it in the general spot, so that when he aggressively painted, it wouldn’t go flying off the table.

He wasn’t super into it.

He said that now he wanted to draw.

Okay, no problem! I know that wax crayons are amazing to use with watercolor. I think most of us have been amazed as kids when we see the relief-effect. So I grabbed some crayons and quickly made some marks – he loves drawing tractors, so we did a tractor. He loves stars, so we made a bunch of stars. And so on. It took me about a minute to get these down, and then I said: “Now it’s your turn to color these! Go!”

And he did. Every now and then I would check in to keep him going, to add another color (I had two brushes out, and so I got to join in the fun from time to time), and to switch out the cards. I only gave him 2-3 at a time. This kept him busy and interested for a solid 20 minutes, which is sort of like a miracle in 2 year old land.

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The final pieces are gorgeous (like him – his spirit and his freaking adorable face!!)

The best part was that when he was finished, he grabbed one and said, “I WANNA HANG IT ON THE WALL!” He was SO proud! So, we did.

I took the dryer ones and stuck them on the wall immediately. The rest went on after everything else was cleaned up, and he is so proud of his art on the walls, just like in Daddy’s studio.

If you want to do this to, but aren’t sure where to start, I recommend:

  • buy the cheapest watercolor paint you can find – pucks are available at the dollar store, and do the job just fine if you’re not working professionally with them (and maybe they will work if that’s your style!)
  • buy the cheapest watercolor paper you can find – if you can find a pad of children’s watercolor paper, even better. The texture are usually more intense which is so awesome for exploring with.
  • cheap watercolor brushes – again, go to the dollar store
  • any crayons will do
  • have fun with it – scribble, draw shapes, draw things, and then paint over top
  • try other things under the paint, like markers or pencil crayon, and see what happens; as your kids get older, more intentional exploring will be even more exciting
  • HAVE FUUUUUN! If it feels like work, you’re not doing it right! Stop and try again tomorrow. 🙂

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Did you know that I’m on Instagram? I’m also on Facebook and have a website! You can email at patrick@patrickg.ca. Please like, follow and share my posts if you’re feeling them, and have a creative day!

The Playroom – How We Organized The Toys

A playroom is a playroom is a playroom.

It’s main purpose is to be used. To be played in. To be imagined in. To be learned in, without it being all learny.

So why bother organizing the room?

I will tell you why we did.

{Want the tour? Here it is! And here is the process!}

Kingsley’s favourite activity is throwing things around the room, dumping every bin and bucket and then moving on. He plays most with things that aren’t technically toys. He is a typical 19 month old.

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But, we are looking forward. We are thinking about how we can gently lead him and build skills that will help him in his life as a kid, a teenager, and an adult.

So, we organized the playroom. And we did it carefully.

We kept in mind that we have a Creative Kid, and his playroom should reflect that. We know he is a Creative Kid because all kids are creative. They stumble, bump and overcome challenges nearly every minute of every single day. So we decided to set up his playroom in a way that would challenge, encourage and open his mind up to imagination. We didn’t fill it with toys, and we even left out paints – the art corner will come in time, when he isn’t prone to eating every art supply. In the meantime, we will administer the art sessions under our watchful, but not overbearing eyes. No crafts here.

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We started by laying out all of the toys we thought we might want to include.

So here is what we did:

  1. We didn’t bring in every single toy, because:

1) He doesn’t need every single toy. People buy him so many and he really is interested in sticks, tubes and tupperware.

2) If he had everything in there, there would be no option to switch toys out when these got old.

3) It is easier to fit, store and sort what’s in the playroom if the toys are selected carefully; and …

4) We selected the most appropriate toys for his current interest, skill and challenge level.

2. We kept some of his favourite toys that he is comfortable using.

 

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3. We brought in some of the more advanced toys that would challenge him, frustrate him, and make him work with us to figure them out.

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The barn he is taking is a frustrating challenge for him. He can’t quite yet get the letters through their holes, so we help him and practice, and to him it is all play.

4. We included sets of toys – cars, blocks, instruments, balls, and bits & pieces – this way, we could easily tidy up after each play session (yes, we do, and we include him in the process … we also do this every evening before bed in the main level of the house).

5. We put those sets of toys in some sort of organizer – a bin, bucket or basket. WE DID NOT LABEL THEM! This might limit future use of said bins, buckets and baskets.

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The easiest way to organize is to lay everything out, have the amount of bins that you want to have in the space, and sort into those. Whatever is left can be given away or put into storage.

Tidying after each session means that Kingsley sees that we all participate in taking care of the toys and the environment. We teach him to take pride in his home. We show him that it is easy to do when there’s a system in place. Just enough options for collections of toys means that there aren’t 42 bins of different types of toys. It is just right for his 19 month old mind to consider and form into a routine.

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We started with 2 overflowing bins of books, and then started to take out the books we hated, loved or were tired of.

6. BOOKS: In terms of the books we wanted to include in the playroom, we kept in mind his extreme love for them. He loves them so hard that he sometimes eats, rips and loves them to pieces. To this end, we picked mostly board books, cheaper books, and books that we weren’t personally tied to. We also picked books we wouldn’t mind reading 10,000 times. We put these in 2 different baskets and left them accessible for him. We also put some favourites up on the mantle.

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My guilty pleasure in this project was setting it up as I would if I owned my dream business: a small family book shop. We’ve got some great titles here: The Monstore by Tara Lazar, Stella (A Treasury) by Canadian author/illustrator Marie-Louise Gay, The (Classic) Giving Tree, The King of Space – and some paintings by yours truly (I do custom orders – send me a message!) I also included a globe that my grandma gave me when I was 9, and a K covered in photos of Kingsley made by a very generous family member.

We left the bottom four cubbies for his Mega Blocks trucks. He loves driving these around, and he parks them when he is done. Why throw off something that is already working?

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So what should you try to include?

  1. Things that roll.
  2. Things that bounce.
  3. Things that are soft.
  4. Things to read.
  5. Various textures.
  6. Things to make them think (at a developmentally appropriate level).
  7. Things they already enjoy.
  8. A place to relax (especially important for tired parents!)
  9. Some original artwork.
  10. Somewhere to make art – right now, it is just a chalk board for our guy.
  11. SPACE to grow. (Leave room on the walls to hang art, leave room on the floor to sprawl and spread the toys out, leave room in the bins to add toys).
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He loves hanging out on the pillows, beneath the mesh curtain, and practicing how to be a big brother.
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This view mesmerizes him. We are going to make a mobile to hang in here very soon.

The moral of the story is that we know our kid, we know where he is every day because we watch and play with him, and we know what challenges to offer him next. Knowing our son has allowed us to create a space that will allow him to play, explore and learn – not just throw stuff around and leave it in a pile. Granted, that happens sometimes after a very long week. Nobody’s perfect. (Although this little boy is pretty darn close.)

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Why We Aren’t Buying A Cute Playground

We aren’t buying Kingsley a cute playground – you know the ones: matching pieces, fun jungle or tractor theme, easy to assemble from your local big box store. They look great in photos, but here’s why we are doing it a little differently:

  1. He will learn more from nature.
    The fine motor skills he’ll get from picking up sticks and stones, looking at bugs and getting over his current discomfort with pine cones (?!), and the gross motor skills he’s getting from climbing onto stumps, pushing his cars around over bumps, stepping over roots and avoiding holes, will serve him as he finds a never ending combination of possibilities for play.

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  2. He will get hurt more easily if we let him play in the rooty and earthy shade beneath the evergreens.
    We want a resilient kid – one who can tip over onto his hands, push himself back up, wipe off the dirt and keep going. Read more about it here.

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  3. We will build pieces that are developmentally appropriate – and appropriate for him – as he grows.
    This year it’s a matter of a clear space to explore, a sand box, and lots of loose bits to move around, climb on, fall from, and explore with. As the summer progresses, we’ll add a slide and a swing. Next year, we’ll add to it – maybe a platform to jump from and to hide beneath, or a rope to swing on. The following year? We might add a cabin. We’re gathering ideas on our shared Pinterest board, from the stuff we have around the yard and barn, and from what he seems to want to do.

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  4. We have the space for a sprawling playscape – why not use it?
    We could put in a sweet little structure, but it would look ridiculous and we would be frustrated when he opted to run through the trees instead of play on the one we spent money on.
  5. We’re cheap.
    Not cheap, really, but budget-knowledgable and unwilling to incur anymore debt for a piece of equipment that will be sun-bleached, broken and unused in just a few short years. So, we are building as we go, paying for it with cash, and making the most of the natural playground we already have.

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  6. It is more motivating to explore the backyard jungle than to climb on an aluminium swing set (which is what we could probably afford).
    This will help us encourage his love for being outside, and will also help to do discourage the use of tablets, computers, phones, pods, etc. He just doesn’t need that. Fresh air – that’s what kids everyone needs more of.

    Playground

The Simple Thing We Did To Raise a Resilient Kid

One of the most important traits that a person can have is resilience. I believe it applies to babies, toddlers, kids, teens and adults alike.

A person who is resilient will learn to try again. They will work for what they want. They will try again. They will view failure as a part of the process, rather than the end of it.

So we are raising our kid to be resilient.

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When he was only a couple of weeks new to the world, we set about waiting to pick him up when he cried. We waited to REACT. We were trying to figure out what the cries meant, and we knew that would never happen if we picked him up with every peep.

But, we had other plans as well. We wanted him to learn that a cry wouldn’t have us running to him. He quickly figured out how to wait to be picked up and how to soothe himself. I’m not saying we stood there watching him cry, but we also didn’t drop the hot pan of dinner mid-oven-removal to coddle him either. Yeah, we know it is a controversial topic. I am sorry if you disagree, but …

We have an extremely well-adjusted 19 month old on our hands, which we believe is a result of this. We have continued with this approach. He falls? We wait. If he starts crying his “hurt” cry, we will run! But usually, he gives a whimper, picks himself up, takes a deep breath, and continues on playing.

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This wasn’t easy. To this day, it isn’t easy. It also means that we let him take risks. We let him try different ways of climbing stairs (with us right there, don’t worry); we let him run across the yard when we know it is full of branches from the winter and poop from the dogs; we let him climb onto the couch and see what he can do.

Who would you rather work with in your work place? Someone who can’t move past a hurdle, or someone who keeps on going?

ResilientKidPost