Rhythm of an Early Years Day

Mothers who are new to Waldorf parenting/homeschooling often would like a “sample” day to follow.  If they have never seen a Morning Garden or Waldorf Kindergarten in person, they often have a hard time wrapping their heads around what this might look like.

I think one thing to do in the home environment, which is not a group school environment, is to start with where you are.   You will look inside yourself, and you can also look amongst your community.  Some parents are just inherently more rhythmical than others.  I started noticing the parents in my life who were rhythmical when my children were small.  My own personal model of parenting when my older two children were small were modeled in part after my two Dutch neighbors.  I was so lucky to have them in the formative years of my parenting.  As one Dutch neighbor told me, in her eyes Dutch parenting was really based upon  cleanliness, rest and rhythm (I think that was the phrase – it all started with the same letter in Dutch!)

But most parents, even the most arrhythmical, do have some sort of inherent rhythm.  One of the premises of Waldorf parenting is that the cosmos has a rhythm and we can see this inside our own bodies.  So this is where we really have to look inside ourselves and realize a rhythm set by someone else can be helpful, but we have to work with ourselves.  Mothers have different temperaments, geographic locations, circumstances, health and stresses. We must start with ourselves.

I invite you to pull out a notebook for  a few days.  Write down what you do when.  Are you really getting up at a different time each day?  Are meals really at different times each day?  I think if you can start with just the small pieces of getting up at the same time, yes, even if you have been up with a baby in the night, and getting breakfast going (even if you have to use a crock pot  or rice maker to make oatmeal), that starts something.  Light a candle at the table, say a blessing.  There is a start that you can build upon.

Think about play outside, time for chores where you and the children can do meaningful work, lunch, a quiet time after lunch, more outside play, dinner and early bedtime.  There is a rhythm.  From that, you can work in a story and fingerplays and singing. From there you can work in verses as you transition to each activity.  From there you can figure out what “activity” of the day your kindergartener (ages five and six) can do each day.

I think the above  really applies well to those of you whose early years child is oldest or a singleton.  I think the bigger issue in some ways is what to do with early years children that are third, fourth, fifth….especially with large age gaps between children.    That is a different post for a different time, though!


8 thoughts on “Rhythm of an Early Years Day

  1. Pingback: » Rhythm of an Early Years Day

  2. Nice to see you go by the Dutch three R’s (Rust, reinheid and regelmaat)! Even though I see a shift back home and a lot of young parents don’t follow those rules as rigorous as I do it’s still important.And the older the kids get the harder it is to have that rhythm. Sports and school activities get in the way twice a week of having dinner together and the older they get the more flexible we are with bed times and other rules, but we still manage to stick to our 3 R’s 🙂

    • Marian! So glad you chimed in as I couldn’t remember the Dutch words (of course)…You have been such a profound mentor in my parenting. So grateful you had Y. first and all your early years teacher training too!
      Love you,

  3. As a mom to eight, i am taking a deep breath and rethinking my rhythms with my littles. I just wanted to let you know how much i appreciate your writing, and this blog. It really does help me to relax and breathe, and find the wonder in being a mom and a homeschooler again 🙂

    • Stephanie,
      Your comment brought tears to my eyes. Even with only three, sometimes I feel like the littlest one gets the least in terms that little ones often want to imitate the older siblings who are “doing school” and we wish we had all those lazy days we had when the older children were little of playdates, parks, etc….It helps me too to go back and think about these things and get grounded again!
      Blessings and hugs,

  4. Carrie I just so appreciate your writing. As my oldest nears 6 I am feeling drawn to more and more outside activities as we get more engaged with our local homeschooling community. But it just doesn’t work for my family. It doesn’t work for me – feeling harried and cutting corners on food and cleaning on those days – and it doesn’t work for my kids who end up rushed and often not getting a chance to relax into play. I feel like I am always having to check in with myself and pull back on our commitments, even though it seems like “everyone else” is out of the home and doing so much more than we are. Sometimes I feel like the only place I can get reassured that what’s happening at home is enough, and is filling their little souls with what they need, is here (and – thank goodness – in conversations with my husband).

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