Today I welcome Allison Abramson as a new contributing write to Kidoinfo. A certified Simplicity ParentingÂ© Group Leader, Allison is helping Rhode Island families slow down, and make space for the simple joys of childhood.Â In her monthly column, Allison will share ways we can reduce the chaos in our daily lives by making small, do-able changes at home that will strengthen family connections and create more time for fun!Â She lives in Providence with her husband and two little girls, where she blogs about their journey toward a Peaceful Life.
Family life moves FAST!!!Â In my house, we are two adults and two little kids, and already I feel our life cruising, so I know that those of you with older kids, in school with homework and activities are feeling it, too. We’re all feeling that rush of life.
One thing that has helped keep everyone in my family moving in the same direction, is a consistent, gentle rhythm underlying our days.Â Â Each day, we move through some of the same activities, not because we’re super rigid, but because that rhythm provides such comfort to all of us (especially the smallest ones among us).
If you feel like you’re scrambling day-to-day, a new rhythm can relieve a lot of pressure. Taking some time to think about what will work best for your family, will put you back in control of that rush of life.
Start by identifying the basic things you can count on everyday- meals, getting dressed, homework, bedtimes. Look for the places where there are rough edges and figure out how to smooth them. For my family, I’ve tried to add more fun into some of our transitions. When I noticed my girls were clinging to my husband as he tried to get ready for work, we started eating breakfast earlier as a family and we added a silly good-bye ritual at the front door; and when I noticed that they were consistently crabby before lunch, I became more consistent with meal prep time and got the girls more involved. Â In no time at all, kids pick up a new rhythm and begin looking forward to the little ways we move from one part of the day to the next.
Once the basics of a daily rhythm are feeling pretty smooth, you can expand to think about all those other things that need to get done over the course of a typical week.Â This can include the chores (laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping), appointments (a weekly meeting, class, or practice), as well as the fun things you’re hoping to do together (art time with the kids, a family walk in the neighborhood). To create your weekly rhythm, assign a place for each activity that feels most natural and do-able.Â In our house, for example, Mondays are quiet days, great for art projects and laundry; and Fridays are our days for a fun outings (nature hike, apple picking, that sort of thing).
Once you have it all mapped out, have fun posting your new rhythm in a place where everyone can see it.Â (We keep this subtle reminder on a pantry door in the kitchen.)
Your family’s rhythm need not be a hard and fast schedule with set times, but a more general overview of the ins and outs of your days. As you begin to recognize this rhythm, and start moving with it, you’ll see how it can actually inform the decisions you make about your schedules and where everyone has to be. When your family feels out of rhythm, you can revisit what you hoped your days would feel like, and then pinpoint the problem areas and stress points.Â See what you can rearrange and readjust to get everyone moving to the same beat again.
Need a little inspiration?Â Check out these beautiful- and functional- designs on the following blogs.