Rhythm For the Irregular

Stuck on trying to get a rhythm going?

I think this happens quite a bit, so here are my quickie top ten tips for developing your own rhythm:

1.  You must get yourself to bed and shoot for the same time to go to sleep every night.  Use an alarm clock and get up even if you are tired.  Sorry, I know folks will really disagree with me here, but I think if you cannot start the foundation of waking up and going to bed, then the rest of the day is off-kilter.  Just my opinion, feel free to disagree.  Smile  My thought is you can always catch up at quiet time/ nap time, but to start to get in the habit of sleeping and waking times.

2.  Plan to do this for forty days.  Yes, forty. We have all heard it takes twenty-one days to establish a new habit, but in many religious traditions forty days is a number referred to again and again.  Try it for forty days.  If you miss a day, just jump back in….

3.  Which brings me to this point:  you are developing your own will.  Your own will is and can be stronger than your irregularity as a person if only you let it.  Try this back post:  https://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/04/30/the-adult-will-and-how-to-develop-it/

4.   Regular meal times is the next step.

5.  Work in baby steps, go slow, get in-person encouragement.  Do not go to the  family and friends who will say, “You have tried this before and it never has worked for you!”  Go to the  family and friends who love you and who will say, “I know you can do this!  This is the first step toward wonderful things!”

6.  Write out your day on paper even if it is just the baby steps.  If you need to, you can cross off the flow like a list whilst you are putting these habits into place and your body is getting used to the changes.  But, keep it very, very simple at first.

It may be as simple as:

Tuesday –

  • Up, dressed, breakfast
  • Clean up dishes
  • Inside play
  • Snack
  • Tell story
  • Lunch at 12
  • Clean up dishes
  • Quiet time/ nap
  • Outside play
  • Everyone helps with dinner preparations
  • Dinner
  • Clean up dishes
  • Bed

7.  Believe in yourself. It can be so challenging when there is an area one has worked consistently to improve and yet it is still a challenge.  Know that you can do this!

Here are a few back posts on rhythm:




Many blessings,


30 thoughts on “Rhythm For the Irregular

  1. Carrie,

    Great list! The New Year has really got me thinking about how important rhythm is (in fact, I wrote about it every day last week). It really can be so hard to get into a rhythm, even when one believes in the benefits! Thanks for the tips!


  2. Thanks for the encouragement, your blog, and your readers candor soothe me and remind me that I am not alone in not being perfect. It’s ok to mess up and then try to do better again.

  3. The sleeping rhythm is so so so important and I get moms frustrated at me all the time when I counsel this, but it really is the key to sanity. Steiner (and many others) have asserted that sleep before midnight is the best sleep, it counts as double! Go to bed when your children do and rise before them. You can do it!

    Thanks for this great post Carrie!

    • Thank you SO MUCH for this concept. I have never heard that sleep before midnight counts for double. I am SO going to try to get to bed for 11 now!! Who knew that I could have a daylight savings night every night!?!

      Thank you, Carrie, too. I just found your blog by accident and am so inspired. I’m having trouble tearing myself away so I keep trying to keep my kids busy with something so I can look more! Will now try to be a more attentive mother and come back later. Sigh. Inner strength. Inner strength. Please, Carrie, keep writing as you can!

    • Welcome Maggie,
      I am so very glad you are here! Lovely times to be in parenting together and supporting each other!
      Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and many blessings,

  4. I must be one of the most irregular persons on the face of the earth and am loving the timing of this post. Truly, I have been trying to take too much on without even establishing a good bedtime and wake time for myself, definitely throwing off the possibility of a working rhythm. I’ve been pondering this over the last week, but haven’t been able to put myself to bed on time and snoozed the alarm way too many times when I finally set it. 40 days of bedtime and alarm waking, I CAN DO THIS! Will over irregularity…I love it.

  5. Thank you, Carrie! This post was exactly what I need and I needed to hear that I can do it! With the new year I wanted to work on a rhythm. I have a three year old and a 4 month old. I find it a little more difficult to keep a bed time rhythm for myself with the baby, but overall I look forward to the rhythm we are working towards.

  6. Yes! YES! it can be hard but you are right on Carrie. the more rhythmn we have in our home the happier we all are. I always seem to forget this when things go awry but when I stand back and take a good look…it all comes back to rhythmn. I will redouble my efforts in 2011 and come out stronger and happier!

  7. I totally agree, Carrie! Having a rhythm around sleeping, waking and eating is the best way to start! Now that I’m teaching in the classroom I find my life incredibly rhythmical (sometimes stiflingly so!) but I remember my days home with little ones where the day just felt like one big blur. I sure was craving rhythm then!

  8. Carrie,
    Thank you for all your wonderful posts about rhythm. I have been slowly learning about Waldorf this last year, mostly through your blog and a bit of book reading. Your blog is a golden wealth of wisdom!
    My family has just begun redeveloping a stronger rhythm at home and your posts have helped very much. I have also been posting about it on my blog so I hope you don’t mind that I linked a few of your posts to it for tomorrow. You just have such wonderful advice.

    Thanks again, Acacia

  9. Thank you for the nudge! Both my husband and I are so bad with this…I tend to go to bed with the babe, it’s just I sleep in if I can because i tend to loose so much sleep most nights…and then at naptime I am bouncing a lot fo the time…but I need to change this somehow anyway. I am going to check all those links! A timely post!

  10. We have a very good rhythm established around naptime and bedtime for my 2.5 year old, and a good bedtime routine established for my 3.5 month old. Where we still need work is making sure to schedule some active/outdoor time on weekend mornings when it is so cold out right now.

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  13. Hi Carrie
    I’ve been loving this series. Wonderful practical advise – especially for a hothead like myself. 😉
    My 4-year old has been very set in his rhythm even as a baby, so I just had to adapt.
    At the moment I am getting to bed later and later as I struggle with my 2 year old to get to sleep at night. She is (and I will only say it on this blog) very active, very strongwilled.
    She still has 1-2 hours nap and I try to have this earlier in the day. However at night she doesn’t settle until 8:30 – 9pm. She is in bed by 7pm, just not falling asleep!!! Because of daylight saving it doesn’t grow dark until around 10pm, so we have made the kids room extra dark, but it still doesn’t help. We have a good bedtime routine. I have tried sleeping with her,sitting quietly and knit, singing, telling stories.
    The problem is that once she is asleep I also want some time for myself, my husband etc. And I find that I get to bed later and later. Any ideas?

    A while back you mention you might do a post about handling a situation where both kids need you at the same time. I find that is my most challenging times to ‘Keep calm and Carry on” I wondered if you could include something along those lines as part of this series.

  14. I have a quite detailed schedule and stick to it (at least most of the times). I only always get into problems when the official time change comes around. I once tried just to ignore it and keep the rhythm we had established. Very soon, though, it didn’t work anymore because of scheduled commitments outside the home or my husband’s work. Does anybody have any thoughts on this? What do you do about the time change twice a year?

    I always liked the waking/sleeping cycle you can find in ayurveda, but it can also get complicated with harmonizing what you are doing with the rest of the world around you.

    Another thought, how much sleep is enough for adults? What about coffee/black tea/green tea to tie you over if you get really tired during the day? What about naps? I’ve tried all of the mentioned, but am never quite happy. I only drink decaf coffee once in a while or green tea, but after a few cups each week (not each day) I don’t feel well. The same is with naps. Sometimes I need a 10 -minute nap, but that makes me more alert at night and I can’t fall asleep early enough.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated!

  15. I am looking forward to having a better rhythm after the craziness of Christmas toymaking (I make toys). It seems so much harder to get into though when you don’t have to. I work for myself, and I have only one child. I can see where it would be helpful sometimes, but I also like just going with the flow.

    I love your blog. You should totally make this stuff into a book.

  16. Hi Carrie,

    I am also looking forward to establishing a more regular rhythm in our family. One tool I would like to use but don’t have a resource for is singing. Is there a Waldorf-inspired CD you can recommend?

    Thank you!!

    PS I completely agree with Cheryl….your blog should be a book! I can’t tell you how many times I reference your blog for info….although the blog is paperless….

    • Terri – Try Candy Verney’s THe Singing Year or The Singing Day from Amazon, comes with CD. For Traditional Waldorf songs, try Lorraine Wolf’s “Come Follow Me” Cd’s Volumes One and Two…Also, you can try Jodie Mesler’s http://www.homemusicmaking.blogspot.com
      She often has seasonal Waldorf-inspired songs available.
      Many blessings!!

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  21. I would like to have more of a rhythm. Especially when it comes to meal. Currently there is none. Some days I don’t get to eat breakfast or lunch and dinner is a gamble when we eat bc my husband is not always home at the same time.

    Could I have dinner with my son on days my husband is late alone? Or will that be weird we’re not having a “together” family meal??

    • RE- Many parents do eat dinner just with their children and have a snack when Dad gets home or Dad gets home just in time to tell bedtime stories or whathave you. One book that you might consider reading, and taking only what resonates with you(I totally disagree with the breastfeeding section in this book) is “The Seven O’Clock Bedtime”. Also, go back through all the posts on rhythm as those could be helpful to you. Rhythm helps establish our health, and rhythm is there in our bodies physiologically whether we acknowledge it or not. You are a wise mother to recognize this!
      Many blessings,

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