I am trying to figure out how to create more rhythm in my 3-year old daughter's life (with a baby due soon). I am planning (or at least seriously considering) homeschooling her for kindergarden along Waldorf ideas, and I want to encourage supportive rhythms. Currently our mornings are filled with indoor and outdoor chores, which she readily participates in. But we are not consistent each day, because we seem to be influenced by the weather. If the weather is nice, we do outdoor chores first and much longer, but if its too cold or wet, we delay this until right before lunch. I feel like some consistency would be nice, but I also love catching sun whenever it surfaces. Also we do stories/songs randomly throughout the day without a particular time period. I'd love to be inspired by hearing about other's daily rhythm.
What rhythms do you have in your daily/weekly family life?
We homestead so our rhythm revolves around the seasons in a big way. Outside chores are alot more once the milk comes in and the garden gets planted. We mostly have a morning routine for breakfast and getting dressed for the day that ends with waving to Daddy as he goes to work and then we go to work. In the winter that means I clean, craft, cook, or what not while the girls color, dance, draw, make a mess or help with chores. In the summer that means we go outside to work in the garden (or their mud pit) and take care of the animals. We have a set time for lunch and then a quiet time when the elder goes upstairs for quiet time and the little one naps, while I ...well I usually fall asleep. After that its more chores, play and then we go out again around three thirty or four to do evening chores and get wood for the night. Five thirty or six is dinner then bath and upstairs to play a bit before bed (okay the bath doesn't happen anything resembling every day). We have a little ritual for bed mostly involving books, Daddy being home (hopefully), a candle and sometimes part of a rosary (we're Catholic), but always bed time prayers. It's loose but it works because we can move with the seasons. Its too darn cold to go out first thing in the winter but too tempting to go out the minute you can when there is sun. I would say give it a bit of time and you'll figure out what your family's rhythm is. Try not to get to stuck on the Waldorf prescription. Rhythm is good but fitting it to your family and life style is important too. It doesn't get down to -25 in Germany.
I used to be much better about rhythms when my kids were littler. I tried hard not to stick to the Waldorf only interpretation, but to find things that made sense with our life/ their stages of growth at the time. They thrived on the routine and ritual of it! It greatly helped my children feel rooted as we had moved quite often initially. It helped me so much also in functioning as a mom of little ones and later as a working mom.
Our rhythm was pretty simple overall with littles. Wake/ cuddle/ get ready, eat, (do some chores, snack, play), lunch, story, nap, snack, play, cook, eat dinner, bath, story, bed. Some days the morning part in parentheses would be an activity like LLL meeting, library visit, walk to the park, etc. We often did things that went with the seasons as far as art projects and such.
When I went back to work FT and the kids were both in school it changed. Then it was wake and get ready, eat, leave, work/school, drive home, snack, play, dinner, homework, bathe, read, bed. In the summer we would (and still often do) travel to a cottage in another state. The daytime is often taken up with play/epolring, lunch and then pool while we are there as the main changes in the rhythm.
Now life is so crazed (1 homeschooled, 1 goes to a school/ needs transportation, dh working/commuting somewhat odd hours, and me homeschooling/WOTH pt/traveling to help care for an ailing parent/etc) I actually have been reading up on rhythms again. I need better routines going that are easy for someone else to follow so that they can be easily implemented in the sometimes extended times I have to travel. I also have noticed as they get older, homeschooled or not, there is a certain amount of activity that life brings that creates its own odd sense of rhythm (scouts, religious ed classes, ot, etc.)
The biggest part of the "rhythm of life" in the home that helped my day to day existence was keeping my chores on a rotational schedule (ala Emilie Barnes or FlyLady) and following a rotation of meal ideas. The meal ideas were ones (example...M- Pizza, Tues- Chicken, W-Hotdogs, T-Pasta, F-Crock Pot, Weekends- leftovers, fast meals, dinner out) that provided minimal flexibility (ie- Tuesday is always some form of chicken but it could be nuggets, baked, roasted, chicken tacos, etc) and gave me a very basic structure for a shopping list. As the kids have gotten older, the meals changed a bit as they could help and their tastes change.
Seasonal routines can depend greatly on your location, allergies and your religious beliefs I have found. We live in a mild to moderate climate (cold, but snow rare in winter; steamy hot in the summer) and have multiple sever seasonal allergies in the family. As a result, we are minimally able to be outside in spring due to pollen causing such severe reactions. We spend lots of time indoors, I try to inspire creativity through indoor art during these times. Winter is cold but since it rarely snows, we spend much more time outside and go on hikes, bike ride, etc. Summer being here means staying cool and avoiding the humidity, something that can be tough; pool or inside are the places to be. Fall is prime for outside activity, photography, and fun! We also tie in our religious beliefs and the calendar followed there to celebrate and build rituals that the children will remember and have rooted in their hearts.