Thursday, July 21, 2011

Rhythm Revisited Part I : Simplifying & Child Friendly Responsibilities

I promised I would get around to posting about the adjustments and additions we have made to our home rhythm. It's hard to keep such a topic to one post because 1.) rhythm may just be one of my favorite topics of all time - so I do tend to go on and on about it 2.) I never seem to remember everything I wanted to say on the matter and need to come back to it 3.) rhythm changes as families change and 4.) while rhythm, in general, makes life a whole lot easier it takes a lot of thought and consideration to figure it all out to fit your family just right so there is just no way a day's, let alone a week's, rhythm could be crammed into one page.

Picture from last winter

Rhythm has been a huge part of our family life for many years now and it is the glue that holds our family life together. Many of you have seen my posts about it in the past but I thought I would revisit the beauty of rhythm and how it works in our family. It has saved us time and time again so I wanted to pass on the gift of rhythm to all of you.

To try and define rhythm simply : Each day of the week has a theme, and each day follows the same predictable pattern. Is rhythm just a fancy word for schedule. NO. While they have similarities, rhythm is more about a gentle flow, a knowing of what comes next, whereas a schedule is more rigid and by the clock. Little ones thrive and feel safe when they know what's next.

Does this mean we're singing and dancing on clouds every day and the picture perfect family? Nope, we all have good and bad days, feelings of inadequacy, siblings still quarrel and little ones still have tantrums, BUT it does help. My little ones always know what to expect and look forward to each day. It's simplistic ways really ease their minds and help them feel secure, relaxed, safe and happy.

I thought I would start out by saying our weekly rhythm has slightly changed. You can see my original rhythm broken down on my post at the Magic Onions. As I have mentioned before, rhythm is constantly evolving, adjusting and changes as it needs to, it is not the same thing as a schedule. It's all about going with the flow, and letting go. So as our little ones grow and change, so does our rhythm. No major changes here really, we just rearranged our days a bit. We decided Wednesday would be the best drawing day because that is our busiest day and drawing requires the least amount of preparation and clean up.

Here is our current weekly rhythm:

Monday is Baking Day
Tuesday is Craft Day
Wednesday is Drawing Day/Playdate Day
Thursday is Handwork Day
Friday is Painting Day
Saturday is Family Outdoor Day/Gardening Day
Sunday is Day of Rest/Holy Day

For this first post revisiting rhythm I wanted to share a new addition to our daily rhythm as well as a new way we have simplified our lives. The girls are at a nice age now to be Mama's helpers even more, and it is mutually beneficial. My girls learn so much from helping out and experience great satisfaction and a sense of self worth in doing so.

Last fall when I was given the opportunity to observe K's classroom for a day I noticed that all the children were responsible for their own dishes after snack time. The teachers had a child sized dish washing station set up for them and one by one they would be excused from their seats and go and wash their things. I loved the idea and right away thought about doing it at home.

Above is the girls cabinet in their kitchen space which stores their personal dishes. As you can see comparing this picture to what it looked like last year - we have simplified their toys a lot, as well. There has been quite a purge going on in our house lately.

I didn't get around to incorporating dish washing into our rhythm until winter time when I was very pregnant and very tired. I was at a breaking point. I felt like I was living in the kitchen doing never ending piles of dishes. This brought about two changes in our home. The first was simplifying our kitchenware. The reason I was always doing dishes is because we had so gosh darn many of them. It was much easier for all of us to just grab a new clean dish for a snack or meal instead of washing the one we previously used and left in the sink (apparently for the cleaning fairy to wash). This caused dirty dishes to get stacked up in the sink making washing them too overwhelming. I'm dizzy just thinking about it! To prevent this from happening we packed away (instead of donating so we could still have some for guests and future family) almost all of our silverware, plates, bowls and cups. We kept out only:

4 knives
4 forks
4 spoons
2 Mama/Daddy sized plates and bowls
2 child sized plates
3 child sized bowls (for multiple snacks at once)
a special cup for each of us
2 mugs (because the cups the girls' have can be used as mugs, too)
4 water bottles

Now each family member is responsible for their own dishes.

After our meals the girls' snuff out our mealtime candle and then we sing:

"Wash our dishes.wash our dishes.
Now it's time we, wash our dishes."

I start the big dishes (like the pots and pans used to make the meal) while we clear the table. Once I am done, K is usually the first to wash her dishes. We discovered the sink gets too crowded for the girls if they do them together and then quarreling breaks out. She scrubs them, rinses them and then sets them in the drying rack. Then it's C's turn. When they are done I like to do one more rinse to their dishes with very hot water, just to be sure they are nice and clean.

They truly enjoy playing in the water as they wash their dishes so, of course, it takes them quite a bit longer to do their few things than it would take you or I. Keeping this in mind, we adjusted our night time rhythm just a bit by moving up dinner a half hour earlier. This way they have plenty of time to play in the soapy bubbles without being rushed or pressured.

Well, I think that was quite a bit for this first post. I hope I didn't ramble on too much... I actually had to stop myself. It's such a passion of mine to have our home centered around our children.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...