Back to Basics: Rhythm

And you thought we were done with “Back to Basics”!  No, I still have a few more musings on this subject. Today I am thinking about rhythm and about how to develop rhythms that work for the whole family.

Crafting your day, your week and your year has distinct advantages for your family life:

· Gives children a sense of security

· Rhythm can calm a high-needs, anxious, nervous or difficult child

· Children can see the tasks of daily life as process from beginning to end

· Once children have external rhythms, they then develop internal rhythms for eating, sleeping

· Helps the child focus their energy on play and growth and balance as opposed to wondering when the next snack time will be or when bedtime is

· Rhythm helps maintain a person or child’s strength for daily tasks

· Connects a child to nature

· Provides a structure for a child that is neither boring nor over-stimulating; provides a balance

· A True Help in Loving Guidance – because children are so centered in their physical bodies and in imitation, rhythm becomes a real help in avoiding arguments

· Helps children become helpers in the home and in life by building in times for setting up and cleaning up activities within the rhythm; this helps calm nervous and difficult children

· Rhythm helps the adults of the family build up their own self-discipline so we can model this to our children

· A rhythm helps a child feel certain that their needs will be met

· A rhythm is a vital piece in establishing for young children that there is a time for all things

· Rhythm helps parents not only with self-discipline but with enabling the energy of the house to flow smoothly and to support the needs of everyone in the entire family, not just one child or the children

· A disorganized life is not truly free!

Sometimes mothers will tell me that rhythm in the home is near-impossible for them to develop because they lack rhythm, they did not have a rhythmical home life growing up,their children are very irregular and arrhythmical….I say these are the sorts of adults and children who NEED rhythm the most.  However, it is a place that requires development of our own will-forces to execute, to get back on that band-wagon when we fall off.  I wrote a post about developing the adult will here:  We can only give our children the gift of inner discipline when we ourselves can model inner discipline in some area!  I have a post about instilling inner discipline in children here:

Here are some open-ended questions regarding rhythm:

  • Do you have rhythms set around mealtimes and rest and bed times?
  • What is your rhythm for  your own inner work, your own work you may do for pay, and other roles you may play besides Wife and Mother?
  • What kind of rhythm do you have for spending time with your partner? 
  • Do you have a general rhythm for taking care of your own health?
  • What is your rhythm for homeschooling?
  • What is the rhythm for balancing being home and being outside of your home?  Are you always going, going, going?  Do you find it difficult to say no to outside things?
  • Do you have seasonal rhythms?  What festivals speak to you –why and why not?

Hope that helps you meditate on this important subject,


13 thoughts on “Back to Basics: Rhythm

  1. Pingback: Back to Basics: Rhythm | Home Pay

  2. On this topic, I just want to share an idea I picked up from the moms at Gentle Christian Mothers. They talk about how rythym (not a strict schedule) helps calm a spirited child, and boy did I have one! I’m amazed at how our rythym has helped him.

    First, I purchased a magnetic dry-erase board. Next, I cut pictures out of parenting magazines of children doing “everyday” things, like brushing teeth, eating, dressing, playing outside, etc. (We even have several pictures of potty seats!) I pasted them to construction paper, cut them out, & had them laminated. Last, I attached stick-on magnets to the backs.

    It took me about a year from hearing the idea to finally break down & do it. But, when I did, it was so easy! When my spirited then-3-yr-old needed to transition to the next activity (such as getting dressed in the morning), I’d take him to the chart & have him tell me what came next. It made it exciting for him, and there were immediatly less tantrums.

    Now, the chart hangs in our kitchen still, but we don’t really have to look at it 10 times a day. Our rythym just “is” now. I change it around with the seasons & our needs. The visual is an unbelievable help to me (a naturally “distractable” person), & I’m so glad we have it!

    To this, I’ve added a simple calendar (bullitin board style) I purchased at Dollar Tree. I put Velcro on the backs of the numbers & months, & we add the birthday & holiday tags as they come up.

    Hope this helps someone!

  3. Carrie, my husband and I LOVE your writings on creating rhythm in a household. We are expecting our first child in February. Have you ever written about creating rhythm in a household with only an infant? (Things like when to start introducing, what kinds of rhythms work best for infants, etc…) If not, I’d love to hear what thoughts you have on that topic. Thanks 🙂

    • Yes, there is a post on this subject…check the Baby header or use infant rhythm in the search engine, it should come up. If not, I will find it for you.

  4. Just wanted to chime in an say I completely agree with you. My son is very high-need, and was a terrible sleeper from the get-go. We started creating a bedtime routine for him as an infant because I read that would help him sleep easier. We’d have a warm bath, pajamas, story, songs, snuggles in bed, then lights out. It took about 9 months before he started sleeping well, but it was so worth it! He is now one of the best sleepers I know.

    I didn’t realize it at the time, but that was our first daily rhythm. We slowly started creating more rhythm to our days. He seemed to do so much better when he knew what to expect, and when he had plenty of quiet unstructured time to just *be*.

    As I learned more about attachment parenting and waldorf, I realized that what we were doing naturally was part of a bigger picture. Now we are a family of four, and I would not have survived those early years with two small children without those daily rhythms to guide us. They are now six and two (almost three!) and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Thanks for this. It really resonated with me. I don’t often comment here because I so often feel that you cover your subject so well and I don’t have much to add. Just wanted to thank you!

  5. i just have to say- no one in my household gets more thrown off by a lack of rhythm than me. There is no way I could do all I do, and enjoy it, without the rhythm. Its like a dance throughout the day. Beautiful and personal.

  6. Pingback: Spotlight: Parenting Links «

  7. that last paragraph really speaks to me, Carrie! i have found so much help here with creating rhythm and it is sanity for our family, BUT, the problem truly is me keeping with it and right now we are in a spot of me not keeping with it and i nearly feel i will lose my mind! pray for me:). i will hope to find a few moments today to read the back post on adult will and see what concrete goals i can set for myself for the next few days. you really have been a lifeline for me and i believe you are surely guided by God’s spirit as you share with all of us. blessings,

  8. I am so glad you aren’t done with the rythym posts. I am struggling with that so much. Both my daughters and I need it so badly too. We have consistent bed time and meal times and nap times. But, I feel like everything in between goes crazy. I always feel like there are too many variables from day to day and that I just can’t set up anything consistent. I am going to read the back posts you suggested and meditate on the questions. Thank you so much!

  9. Carrie,
    Your blog is so chock-full of information. I really appreciate the time and effort you put into making such informative, heartfelt posts. I am just beginning Waldorf with my 5 and almost 9 year olds – your blog has been a fantastic source of information and inspiration. I just wanted to say thank you.

  10. There are never too many posts about rhythm. I was just reflecting today about how it sometimes falls apart at our house–we’ll be in a great flow, and then all of a sudden my 2.5 year old will refuse to take our mid-morning walk (I should say, dress to take our walk!), which means she isn’t tired enough to nap, which means I become a very disgruntled mother. I wonder if it’s natural for the child’s relationship to the rhythm to shift as they are growing and changing, and to what extent I should adapt our day to the whims of a two year old or to what extent I should hold the form at all costs. Thanks for the post on adult will–it seems the heart of so much of these questions.
    Thanks Carrie!

  11. Pingback: The Wheel of Time and Rhythm « Wisdomkeeper's Blog

  12. Pingback: Rhythm For the Irregular « The Parenting Passageway

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