What are days like at your home? Do you follow a schedule or let your days flow as they might?
For our family we have had the same rhythm for many years. A rhythm is much different from a schedule. Schedules tie you to specific times and can create more stress. If you get off your plans for the day you feel like you need to catch up and are running late. This can cause undue pressure and frustration. Now of course you may have certain appointments and things that need to be at set times, but the whole day doesn’t necessarily need to run on the clock. There are some people who thrive this way. If that is your thing, then go for it.
What is a rhythm?
A rhythm is a general flow to your day. Your family comes to know what comes next but doesn’t worry about the exact timing. If your day gets thrown off, you just pick up where you left off, or go to where you’d like to continue on with your day. This is much less stressful, more predictable and easy to follow.
For our family we found that a gentle daily rhythm works best. We’ve been able to keep with the same basic rhythm to our day since the boys were really little. It does change a bit in different seasons of life, but for the most part it works well for us.
Children thrive on routine and predictability. It helps them to feel safe and secure. When a child knows what to expect next, they are less anxious and can relax into the day.
Planning your rhythm
In planing your rhythm I recommend starting with your big anchor points. These are your must haves like meals, or standing appointments (such as your work schedule, conference calls, even naps). Then add in all the other priorities your family values.
For our gentle daily rhythm we start with movement after breakfast. This wakes us up and gets us going for the day. You could try yoga, walking, or dancing. Some families with pets naturally have to take their dogs for a walk or feed their animals. For families with smaller yards or little ones they may choose to go out to the park or nature location for a while.
Snacks and meals are definitely anchor points for our day. I can tell the time by my stomach, I know I get hungry around 10am every morning. So to avoid hanrgy kids (and mamas) it’s important to have simple healthy snacks readily available. Another tips is to meal plan, this way you aren’t scrambling at dinner time. I’ll be honest lunch is one I need to work on, we tend to scrounge in the fridge.
Activity of the day or academics we usually do in the morning. When my boys were really little we had a great plan.Monday – bakingTuesday – craftsWednesday – gardeningThursday – sensory (playdough, clay)Friday – nature
Sometimes this might change and we’d focus on music, painting, handiworks, seasonal festivals and such. My youngest is going to have his week look more like this.
For our older boys we usually do a unit study or alternate days between math and english. Some years it has worked best to do one subject a day like fine art Fridays. I usually stick to one rhythm for a few months and then modify as needed. We do not try to replicate school at home doing multiple subject a day. That is just too much school work for us.
Free play/outside time is at least twice a day. This is where the magic happens. The boys pursue their own interests and projects. We play together, explore nature and get in exercise. If we have homeschool activities our simple rhythm allows for that flexibility.
Quiet Time is necessary for all of us. Younger ones might need a nap, but all of us need a break from each other to feel refreshed and process our feelings. Reading, playing quietly, or listening to podcasts are great activities for kids to keep to. Some families depend on naps in order to work with the older children. Be sure to include some break in the day through for down time for both you and your kids.
Evening routine is one thing that would be great o be predictable with (I’m talking to myself here). Having a consistent calming routine for the evening can help your child’s body relax and calm enough to sleep better.Some things you might include is a snack, story, bath, snuggles and prayers.
What about working parents?
You can still work a gentle rhythm up for your family. I run two businesses around this rhythm and get my work done during quiet time, early morning and late at night.
What is your rhythm like in your home? share in the comments