The concept of a “rhythm” comes from the Waldorf style of education. Instead of a strict schedule, families or Waldorf schools adopt a rhythm to their days, weeks and years. It has been well documented that young children strive with predictable routines and the truth is, I do too.
I was drawn to the idea of creating a rhythm in my home after reading the book, Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne. Among much other wonderful advice, she talks about the importance of creating meaningful rhythms in your home.
I’ve also found some other wonderful resources about setting up rhythms…
The blog, Frida be Mighty is a treasure trove of information written by a mom, Eloise, about her family life as a stay-at-home mom to her daughter, Frida. Eloise is simply amazing. She parents so carefully and confidently. She is committed to giving Frida “a beautiful childhood” and it is so inspiring to follow along. Eloise even offers an online course to help you create a rhythm in your home. Her courses sell out very quickly!! Her Instagram is also beautiful and ispirational.
Another website, also with a blog, Whole Family Rhythms, is written by Meagan, mom to four. Her children attend a Waldorf school and she has created a beautful Waldorf inspired home. She sells wonderful resources about rhythms that you can download and implement in your own home. Her Instagram is likewise lovely.
When creating your own daily rhythm, it is recommended to consider both “in breath” activities that are typically quieter and calmer in nature and “out breath” activities that are more unstructured like free or outdoor play. You can use these types of activities to balance each other out and create a harmonious flow to your day.
A weekly rhythm might include making pancakes on Sundays or going for a bike ride on Friday afternoons.
A seasonal or yearly rhythm might include your holiday traditions.
Here is our typical daily rhythm on days we have morning activities outside our home…
- I get up shower and get dressed
- Kids Wake Up – around 7am for Ethan and anywhere between 7 and 8:30am for Lillian (on days when Lillian sleeps in, Ethan and I spend some quiet time together playing or reading)
- Morning Jobs for the kids (vitamins, brush teeth, potty)
- Get Dressed
- Prepare, Eat and Clean Up Breakfast
- Morning Basket (read aloud books, poems, calendar work, phonics activity, counting and songs)
- Get Ready to go (fix Lillian’s hair, put on shoes, jackets, etc)
- Out and About
- (If covered in mud and dirt they take a shower before lunch)
- Prepare, Eat and Clean Up Lunch (with the nicer weather we have been enjoying lots of picnics outside and not coming home for lunch a few days a week)
- Quiet Rest Time (Neither of my children are still napping. Instead, they play independently in their rooms for one hour. They also will sometimes listen to an audiobook or podcast during this time. I find this gives them some time to recharge and get a break from each other. And me!)
- Clean Up Bedrooms
- Afternoon Activity at Home (self-selected by the kids, lately they have been loving painting peg dolls)
- Chore Time (We have daily chores we work on together.)
- Prepare, Eat and Clean Up Dinner
- Free Play or Play with Dad if he’s home (This time is almost always spent in our playroom and it is interesting to watch how they always self select some very calming work or play. They wind themselves down which is great. To help them make this transition we use different lighting at night – instead of bright overhead lights, we use strings of fairy lights. It’s bright enough to see what you are doing but not too bright to feel like it’s still daytime.)
- Showers/ Or Baths if needed
- Nighttime Jobs (comb hair, brush teeth, potty)
- Bed – at 7/ 7:30pm
There is always free time scattered in throughout the day when they spend time in our playroom with open ended toys, Montessori work materials, books and art supplies. We are also not 100 % “screen-free” and the kids do watch tv shows a few times a week. Their favorite show is Wild Kratts on PBS. Usually this will happen after rest time or on a weekend morning.
If we don’t have to be somewhere first thing in the morning – my kids wake up and start playing right away! They are rarely hungry first thing and can usually end up playing for 1.5-2 hours peacefully before we get going on morning jobs and breakfast. I feel lucky that they love to play together and for the most part get along really well. That is the silver lining to having kids close in age, I guess! This time that they have to play together is also one of my favorite things about homeschooling. We have plenty of time for play and they have had time to develop such a beautiful relationship.
Our weekly rhythm includes…
- Wild + Free playgroup
- Ballet class for Lillian
- Forest School
- Standing homeschool playdate with another family
- They spend one day a week with their grandparents (I am VERY grateful to have this time to spend as I please – often on errands without the kids.)
- Spend a day at home and complete a 3 hour Montessori work cycle
- Have poetry tea time
- Nature journal
- Do yoga at home
This weekly rhythm changes a few times a year as in the past the kids have taken music, yoga, gymnastics, Tinkergarten and a homeschool science class.
We have lots of yearly/seasonal traditions and I never have to worry about forgetting to do one of them. My kids would never let me! They love that we do the same things each year for each holiday. They also look forward to Shark Week every year as well as getting caterpillars each May. Simple things can turn into fun seasonal traditions!
Do you have a rhythm? Do you want to share it in the comments? I’d love to hear about it!