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I grew up in Texas, where snow usually lasts a day or two and then gives way to outside play. In Iowa, I’m going on a second year in a row where my Christmas lights are still up in February, frozen in icicles for most of the last month.

My kids, however, do not freeze in place, or really sit still much ever. Some of my kids’ limbs have minds of their own, which walk them aimlessly around rooms, rearrange toys tornado-style with their feet, or otherwise create trouble while the kids’ heads’ minds are elsewhere.

Desperately needing to use up some of this energy, I finally found a way: during our symposium each day, I sit down and play songs on the piano for about 15 minutes while the kids run laps around our house (kitchen to living room to dining room to kitchen). One kid needs to put on sock and shoes to avoid bruised feet from the hardwood floor, but so far so good.

I used to have a “house rule that there is no running in the kitchen,” a phrase which I required my kids to repeat hundreds over times. They never got it. So instead, I have given up that battle and tried to harness the chaos instead. So far, it’s one of my favorite things we do each day. Most important: it simultaneously gets them indoor exercise, adds a nice element to school that helps them calm down for the second half of symposium, and lets me enjoy something I want to do anyway.

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