Well it is the start of a brand new year, with a fresh outlook moving forward! I love the new year with the excitement of changing those things that are not working for me, while being oh so grateful for the blessing in my life. As you move forward into this new year, I would like to emphasis the True Importance of Rhythm!
Rhythm is essential to all life. It surrounds us, the changing of the seasons, the rising and setting of the sun, the cycles of the moon, everything growing and changing. Rhythm is within us, our beating hearts, the circulation of our blood, our breathing in and out, all that is living has rhythm.
Rhythm for the young child is a necessity. It brings about good health and well-being. I have seen it time and time again here at Sweet Waters Childcare. A child coming for their first time may be unsettled by the newness of it all and being away from mom and dad. But once here for awhile and the child lives into the rhythm, they relax. The need for discipline lessens because the rhythm supports the child and they know exactly what to expect, which in turn brings great comfort and peace of mind.
So how do you bring more rhythm, more structure to your child's life? I like to start the old fashioned way with a pen and paper. As best you can, write out your day and your week. What are your child's needs? What are your needs? When do you work? When are mealtimes/snacks? Outside/inside play? Nap/quiet time? Does grandma/grandpa come for a weekly visit? Finally when does the bedtime routine start (and end : )? Write out general times when each of these will happen but more importantly is the succession. Of course, this gets more challenging the more children you have and the greater the age gap. However, a rhythm is definitely still possible, it just takes more organization from you and your partner and a bit more support from the greater community.
Once you have your general week laid out, make sure you include plenty of daily outside time. I remember when my children were small, we always went for our daily walks even on the coldest of days. Indy was in a sling under my many layers and Sequoia was running about. Movement is part of this, a stroller is fine if needed but I would suggested a shorter walk with your toddler on their own two feet. Again at Sweet Waters, I have witnessed the importance of outside play even if it takes us longer to get ready than we are actually out, it benefits us all. The squirreliness of the day runs back up the tree where it belongs and the calm, centered child returns and we can move forward happily into our lunchtime.
Once you have been living into your more structured rhythm, your child's physical body will respond. This is how deep it runs. Your child's digestive juices will begin to flow at mealtime, their eyes will droop at rest time and they will be rip and raring to go on their daily walk. Making parenting much less stressful and much more enjoyable!
I understand life happens and your families schedule will ebb and flow. However, set that compass and try to keep your sites due north. Don't get lost at sea in the feelings of guilt and frustration, if you lose your way. Allow the flexibility of life to happen with a basic plan of your day. If you get off track, steer back on course. Tomorrow is always a new day. I hope this gives you much food for thought, it is in the awareness of the simple things that you do each day that gives your child a feeling of structure, order and a deep feeling that all is right in the world.
Peace and Love to you and your family,