Family Rhythms and Routines Q & A
by Kate Saffle
A year ago
What would the family home be without beloved rituals and the simplicity of a daily rhythm? There is a cadence that is created when we move in patterns around our homes and in our communities as the sun also forges its path across the sky. Day in and day out, we have the choice of how to spend our moments together as family. Even in times of difficulty, loss, and busy schedules, our much-loved and known family rhythm is a beacon to guide us home. As parents, we have the opportunity to lead our children in these daily patterns and create new cherished rituals for each season and holiday.
Over the past month, we’ve explored the many ways to imbue home with a peaceful family rhythm. We know it isn’t always easy to get the hang of it, and so we’ve got you covered with answers to your questions! Read on to learn more and perhaps even get your question answered.
Q: I have children of multiple ages, going all different directions. How do I maintain any sort of rhythm in my home and keep up with all of their activities and interests?
It can certainly feel overwhelming to meet everyone’s needs in one family, especially when they’re all such different ages! Without completing throwing out all organized activities, it’s essential to first set boundaries for extracurriculars, playdates, and other activities outside of the school day. From there, imagine the main times that the family is together as a whole; perhaps mealtimes or bedtime. What rituals could you create around those daily touchstones that would help the family bond and connect? Use your driving time to ask each other questions, tell stories, sing songs together, and play games. Then finally, guard your children’s sleep and make sure they (and you!) are getting plenty of rest each night. Well-rested children will have a much greater emotional capacity to handle busy schedules; paired with a few simple rhythms during the day, and you’ll be able to tackle this busy season of multiple ages and activities!
Q: I love the idea of having a family rhythm that guides our days, but I am so disorganized myself. Help! How do I get myself on board so that I can then help my family?
Many parents struggle with organization, whether with physical items in the home or with time. You’re not alone! Start by asking yourself what your goals and values are for your family. This will be your compass guiding your days. Then consider the root of your disorganization. What patterns of behavior govern how you handle your time and possessions? Sometimes it can really help the trajectory of your day by first setting aside some time in the morning for yourself. Take 30 minutes and plan out your day on a piece of paper and brainstorm your goals. What needs to happen today to make it feel like a success? What activities need to take place to uphold your family’s values and goals?
I know it isn’t easy to change old habits, but with some persistence and awareness, you can do it.
Q: I only have one child, and she’s just under a year old. When should I start thinking about creating rhythms in her day?
It’s never too early to start thinking about rhythms! In fact, I bet you already have some in place. Babies are guided by their innate rhythms of eating, sleeping and playing. As your little one becomes a toddler, you can introduce a more nuanced daily rhythm and rituals that reflect your family’s values and interests. With young children, it’s important to keep their day as simple as possible so that they have time to process what they’re learning and experiencing. Children learn through song and play, so consider singing simple songs or practicing finger plays together. Reading aloud is also a wonderful daily rhythm to include and her young age is perfect for experimenting with new foods. Have fun exploring the world together and creating your own version of rhythm in your home.
We hope that this series on family rhythms and rituals has been beneficial to you! Next month, we’ll dive into protecting childhood, helping children filter out the adult world, and how to handle screen time.
Further Reading and Resources