Rhythm is like the rise and fall of the tides in its dependability, its presence, its calming nature. Rhythm can work like that in the home as well, and it doesn’t have to be hard or stressful.
I think this is often a time of year where people feel dismayed about rhythm. I think it is the weather, winter hanging on, a little cabin fever, that prompts us to think we are not doing enough or holding enough. We are so hard on ourselves!
If you have small children, rhythm is very important but there are many more distractions and ways in which rhythm derails compared to when you have older children. The under 9 land is really just the days of trying to make it to the end of the day with everyone safe and sound. Part of the rhythm in this time frame of having children is making your home and space work for you, not against you. Have the things you do not want children in to up and out of reach. Use a baby gate to keep things contained so children are not running through the house without you. Plan a bit ahead as to what space matches with what you are trying to accomplish. This is a very tangible way to help rhythm along.
Rhythm for tiny people can be as simple as breakfast, clean up, bathroom, play outside, bathroom, snack and clean up, fingerplays and/or story, bathroom, lunch and clean up, nap/ rest, bathroom, perhaps your own festival or handwork which you can do prior to or during outside play, work of the day, bathroom, dinner, bath time and bed time. It needs to be broad and probably less detailed than you think. Build up your traditions slowly and carefully.
All children, even toddlers, need meaningful work. This is a guest post on this subject: https://theparentingpassageway.com/2011/06/28/guest-post-meaningful-work-for-toddlers/ and the follow up here: https://theparentingpassageway.com/2011/06/29/more-about-how-to-create-meaningful-work-for-toddlers/. They are not hyperlinking, but please feel free to copy and paste into your browser. I also have many back posts about Waldorf in the home with one and two year olds, three and four year olds, etc. The back posts may be very helpful to you!
When we begin with proper school in first grade, then we need a slightly different rhythm. This simply could be breakfast and clean up, work within the house, a walk, the warm up to a main lesson and the main lesson, bathroom and outside play, lunch and rest, and either more activity in the afternoon such as preparing for a festival, more outside play, dinner and clean up, bath time, bed time. This is a precious, unhurried time of life that I can confidently say having two out of my three children in/heading to college, that you will never get back. It may feel monotonous in some ways, to you as the adult, but it is so nourishing to those under that 15/16 change.
Teens past the 15/16 change tend to be juniors and seniors in high school and at this point generally have their own schedules. I don’t know too many teens in this age bracket in my area that are not utilizing outside classes and who have many outside activities at this point, plus jobs and driving themselves around may be involved as well. The years of 16-18 is a springboard towards launching into future plans, whatever those may be. The relationship and rhythm of the house in many ways stays the same in terms of rising, meals, household work, rest, sleep, but changes in terms that you are the anchor at home and they are doing the things required to get to something that is next and around the corner. they are out into the world, to a certain extent. This only increases after high school graduation!
Your steadiness in rhythm helps provide the neurological and physiological stability so your children can be stable, functional adults. Rhythm is a huge piece of this, whether you homeschool or not.
Thinking of rhythm with you today,