In our increasingly busy lifestyles it is often difficult to find a balance in family life. We can be so caught up in getting things done that we often move absentmindedly from one activity to another longing to reach the point when we can finally sit and relax. As adults we often long to be more present in our daily life and be more available for the things we love, including time with our children. The current environment and rules around social distancing now brings new challenges, including juggling work, school and family time whilst being confined to our home. Establishing a positive family rhythm and slowing down the day seems more important than ever and will support families to provide a stable, predictable and harmonious home environment providing your child with security and comfort and something to trust in during these uncertain times.
A clear and predictable home rhythm will encourage independence and support children to transition between activities more cooperatively throughout the day and also give you as parents time to complete adult tasks.
To begin with, it is helpful to think of the day in terms of breathing in and out and ensuring a balanced interplay between the two. Rudolf Steiner referred to "the need to teach the child to breathe rightly in the widest sense and on a number of levels. To give the child a daily breath-like rhythm, living as we breathe. Where there is a rhythmical flow of contraction (breathing in) and expansion (breathing out)".
Breathing in activities involve more quiet, calm and peaceful things like quiet indoor play, sharing a story or some songs, having a cuddle or a cozy rest somewhere snug. These times are more inward and allow for an opportunity to gather strength and find a sense of self.
Breathing out is expansive, active, social and expressive and may involve bigger more noisy play activities, digging, gardening, playing a game or sport or going for a walk.
Mealtimes can be what sets the basic rhythm for your day and other activities can be scheduled in between these times. To establish your own home rhythm, think of all the routines and things you need to do in your day and order them so that there is plenty of time to move between breaths and once established stick to it, repeating the same pattern each day.
Below is a sample weekly and daily rhythm, similar to a kinder rhythm, that you can use to help you establish your own rhythm at home.
We have left the times blank so you can work out what suits your family best.