I've been doing a lot of research and reading about creating a balance in our routine and in our home. Not just for James because children need and thrive in an environment that's regular and familiar, but for our family as a whole. I have an insatiable need to feel an order to my days, but I get anxious when they're too regimented. I suspect James feels the same way. I really wanted to find a way to bring a flow to our days. A way to keep things easy and peaceful.
I read the book, You are Your Child's First Teacher, and after reading the chapter on rhythm I felt an immediate calm. There it was. That's what my family and I needed - a rhythm.
The waves ebbing and flowing at our favorite beach, Chaplin Bay.I took some time to think about our days based on the book's suggestions and I was pleasantly surprised to find we are already very much in a rhythm of our own. I suppose I just had to step back for a moment to realize it. Still, I felt there were a few areas that needed "fine-tuning", particularly our mornings and mid-afternoons. They were sort of a hodgepodge of whatever we felt like doing or could fit in at the time. This type of "freedom" may sound ok in theory, but it always left me feeling scattered, unfulfilled and very unproductive.
A view of the sun setting from our backyard.
A view of the sun setting from our backyard.
Then, after seeing this beautiful post I was inspired to create a daily rhythm chart for our family. I chose certain recurring times throughout the week for the things we've always done - our Montessori lessons, outdoor play, prayer, field trips, and quiet time. Also each day of our week now has its own "theme" (e.g. Monday is Baking Day).
Now, I know it sounds like my chart is akin to a regimented routine, but it's not! Call it a change in perspective or semantics, but I'm not looking at this chart as a hard and fast schedule we need to follow, but more as a helpful guide detailing the rhythm of our days. The fact that each day has an overall "theme" is what really makes this feel peaceful and calming to me - it ties the day together. And as soon as I created the chart and posted it on our fridge I felt relief. It all makes sense and most importantly, it feels right.
Even though we've just started with our daily rhythm, I can already feel the difference. I'm getting things done, I don't feel rushed or stressed and I'm feeling really positive. This, I know, makes my family and my home happier as a result. James knows what to expect, he looks forward to our adventures and seems more secure. And my husband? He's so supportive of this concept and I think in general he feels as long as mama and kiddo are happy, he's happy. :)
I'd love to hear from any of you who've created a daily rhythm in your home and if you have any recommendations for books on the subject.
And, in case you're interested in finding out more about rhythm yourself, take a look at the posts that inspired me:
::The Magic Onions hosts a wonderful weekly series called Discovering Waldorf and that's where I found this insightful post written by the author of one of my favorite blogs, Frontier Dreams.
::Rhythm of the Home - this is an online magazine that is full of posts that are good for the mind, body and soul.
::There's just a snippet about Rhythm in this post, but I urge you to read the entire post because it offers some lovely insights into Montessori and parenting as well. Plus, it's written by another of my favorite bloggers, Meg, of Sew Liberated.
I have a post on my blog about the same thing today! I guess we're in "rhythm" with each other!! So wonderful to read about your thoughts on creating a routine for your family, and I'm glad that you feel the chart is helpful to you!
You are wonderful! Your family is very lucky to have you. Creating a rhythm is great idea and this post just exudes peacefulness.
You are totally right about kids needing a routine. I've seen kids without it who act out and run around like mad people, and kids who have it who are calm and kind (just like your James!).
This post spoke to me more than you can imagine, its just what I needed to read right now. Once again, Mari-Ann, you have come to the rescue!
I would love to see your rhythm chart you have posted on your fridge. I am constantly trying to come up with better rhythm for our family. I like the idea of having a "theme" for each day.
I was just thinking about this last night and how we needed a better rhythm in the afternoons. Thank you!
okay this sounds amazing! I have been feeling like our days are either rushed or i take the other approach and try for laid back but never get anything done.. Thinking I need to do this!
Wonderful. We need some of this as well.xx
Recently I've been trying to feel better my son's rhythm and to adopt our activities to it (for example, to add some relaxing sand and water activities at home to our routine during his free time). Thank you for your post and useful links, they'll be much of help!
lovely post....I also linked back you on the butter making, thanks- karen
I saw that post also the other day on the Magic Onions and then yesterday saw Ariella's post on her blog.
I went straight to work to make up our own rhythm chart because I realized we had alot less of a routine than I thought and we SO needed this. We started today and it's working wonderfully already.
I'm also going to post about this on my blog tonight. Seems alot of us have rhythms in mind lately :)
I have recently read "Simplicity Parenting" by Kim John Payne and loved every single chapter. The over arching theme of his book is for us as parents to create a calm, predictable pattern in our home and in our lives (for ourselves and for our children). In order to due this we must cut out all the time consuming clutter.
I think you will love this book! I have been recommending it to everyone lately!
I've been thinking about rhythm lately, too. I've been reading more and more Waldorf blogs and sites because there are many aspects of that philosophy that I admire. I just found The Magic Onions blog earlier this week and also Childhood Magic (both of those blogs are amazing, and I loved the rainbow weekly chart on Childhood Magic!!). I think it is so easy for me (you know, a planner like yourself) to let a rhythm turn into a schedule. I'm working on creating a calming rhythm instead of a strictly regimented schedule. I'm also creating a baking day (we did lots of baking before, but it was kind of hodgepodge), a field-trip day (today we're going to pick blueberries, weather permitting), an art day (when our art playgroup meets, though we do some art nearly every day). We also have recurring visits with grandparents, which is nice. Here's a question for you though: how do you incorporate errands into your weekly rhythm? Do you have a specific day for errands? I'm working on creating a more peaceful and calm lifestyle for Finn, but it's definitely a work in progress.
Beautiful photos,by the way!
Cara, I emailed you separately, but thought I'd share it others who may be wondering the same thing:
I have definitely incorporated errands into our rhythm because they’re a part of our life. Every Tuesday is Grocery Day and Thursday’s are Flex Day where we can either catch up on Montessori lessons, meet up with friends, or run errands. I save up my errands so they can be done all at once every 2-3 weeks. Monday is Baking & Laundry Day, Wednesday is Art & Music Day, and Friday is Friends & Fieldtrip Day. Saturday and Sunday are Family Days.
Hope that helps!
I love your blog!! Very informational and fun at the same time. Thanks for sharing. Now,please show me some pictures of whats on the shelves(LOL).
Lovely post Mari-Ann...we need some rhythm too!! I will love to see your chart!! Can I??... I always like to be very "scheduled"!! but there are more days everything it's different of what I planned......
Big Hugs my friend!!
What a beautiful post!! Isn't it amazing how simple yet wonderful rhythm is?! I am so in love with it!! Thank you so much for including me and your recent comment on my blog. You are much too kind!! XO
It wasn't until I read about Waldorf that I considered there is a presence of rhythm in our home and all around us. Now, I appreciate the change of seasons and the passing of time as rhythms and rhythms to look forward to. Have you read Heaven on Earth by Sharifa Oppenheimer? It has a little bit about weekly and daily rhythms but is also one of my favorites for general information. You've got a great blog, I always enjoy visiting.
kids totally need a routine!
I am struggling with balancing the needs of my 10 mth old with the needs of my 3 yr old with the housekeeping needs etc....but we have a general theme of the day (mondays are baking days for us too! and thursdays are usually Pancake Lunch day- which is really just an excuse to eat at our local diner)
I'd love to see what your chart looks like! and I have been loving reading your blog
Hi Mari-Ann! I was just visiting AGAIN your Daily Rhythm post and Ym, my 3yo, said: Is that James? So funny! I'm sure you have many things on your plate right now but I'd love a bit more of info on the book you recommend, when you get a chance. You can email me separately.
My daughter recently started a blog and one of her posts was on.... rhythm.
I loved reading your wonderful post about creating your family’s rhythm! I think that’s a great idea for many homeschool families. I featured your post in my article about setting a Montessori homeschool classroom schedule: http://livingmontessorinow.com/2010/08/31/setting-a-montessori-homeschool-classroom-schedule/
Me gusta la idea de ponerle de alguna manera una rutina al niño para que se vaya acostumbrando dia a dia a lo que tiene que hacer y a llegar a su meta.perdon por no escribir en ingles.
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