Ever wondered why sticking to a schedule with your family can be exceptionally difficult? One reason may be that the schedule is too rigid or strict and does not accommodate the needs of all individuals in the family. Instead, establishing a family rhythm may prove itself more fruitful by taking advantage of the natural ebb and flow of the family system.
Rhythm, unlike a schedule, is flexible and fluid. It is based on the family’s unique lifestyle and allows for adaptability. It is a rough guideline that helps parents as well as children know what to expect while easing their fears of uncertainty. Rhythm is especially important for little ones. Children benefit from having a life of predictability and consistency. For example, establishing Monday as spaghetti night, Tuesday as laundry day, and cookies and milk as an after-school treat are all simple steps towards creating a more organically balanced family environment. Increasing the rhythm in your home is a great way to simplify your child’s life and to less complicate yours.
The benefit of establishing a family rhythm is invaluable. Without rhythm, pattern, routine, or structure in your daily/weekly lives can lead you to feel anxious, angry and overwhelmed. Lacking rhythm may contribute to parenting from a place of anger and frustration. By bringing order to your life and creating a predictable way of going about your normal daily activities, you will improve your ability to cope with the stresses and realities of life and parenting.
We should strive for rhythm and rituals. In doing so, we achieve the predictability that children need to feel calm and relaxed. Rhythm builds consistency and allows children to feel secure throughout the day. Committing to rhythm from a place of love provides trust and relational credit within the family.
You might be asking, “Where do I begin?” Well, start by designing a small doable change in your home. An example centered around dinner time can be having your children wash their hands before dinner, setting the table together, and clearing the table once the meal is complete. Another example would be a bedtime ritual, which would consist of a goodnight verse (for my favorite bedtime verses e-mail me). Make sure you jot down when you will begin, how many times a week you will incorporate the rhythm and for how long. I suggest incorporating into your weekly rhythm time for you family to spend together via playing fun games, reading books together, and collectively creating meals. Later, review how you are doing and adjust the plan if necessary.
Once the rhythm becomes part of your daily routine don’t forget to celebrate by rewarding yourselves with a fun family activity. There is always room to celebrate a healthy change no matter how small.
By Galit Meirov
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