In this post: Today, I want to talk about how rhythms and routines have made such a big difference for our family and how you can create them for your family too!
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Do you ever feel like your days and weeks blur together with no real flow?
Are you tired of running around like a chicken with your head cut off trying to get your kids to bed at night? How about getting them to the car for activities?
I used to be you, friend.
When my oldest daughter, Little Miss, was a toddler, our days were chaotic but manageable. But when the twins, Monkey and Cub, were born, I knew we needed to make some changes in our house!
That’s when I implemented rhythms and routines to our life, and they’ve made all the difference!
What’s the difference between rhythms and routines?
Often, rhythms and routines get bunched together, and it’s pretty easy to get them confused or even think of them as the same thing. I know I have in the past.
A routine is defined by Merriam-Webster as “habitual or mechanical performance of an established procedure.”
Rhythm is defined as “movement, fluctuation, or variation marked by the regular recurrence or natural flow of related elements.”
In everyday life, a routine might look like the things you do first thing after you wake up or immediately before you go to bed. You do certain things regularly in a specific order, and you probably don’t really even think about what you’re doing. Those things are so engrained in your days that they’re a habit.
A rhythm looks a little bit different in that you tend to go with the flow, and there’s more wiggle room available. Your weeks may be more of a rhythm than routine- especially if you have small children!
In our house, we have a general framework that makes up our weeks, but very few things are set in stone, and I tend to be pretty flexible.
Can rhythms and routines work together?
Depending on your personality, rhythms and routines can absolutely work together!
I know some people who are very strict in following their routines and schedules. This can be very effective for them.
In contrast, I also know of others who feel confined when they do the same things over and over and need some novelty in their lives. You have to decide what works best for you.
Personally, I’m kind of right in the middle. We have certain routines in our days- cleaning routines, a laundry routine, bedtime routines. But we spend the majority of our days in a rhythm.
My daily routines help me feel grounded, but too many routines and a strict schedule make me a little crazy! Just ask me how long we stuck with a strict sleep/eat/play schedule when our girls were babies. (Spoiler alert: it was less than a day!)
Why is it important for kids to have rhythms and routines?
Kids thrive when they have a routine and know what’s coming next. It gives them security.
Little Miss is always asking what we will do the next day and asks again in the morning what’s on tap for the day. She knows our weekly rhythm, and although she doesn’t have a total grasp of days of the week, she knows that on Sundays and Wednesdays, we have Bible class and worship. Mondays she has swim and soccer.
She has come to know these beats in our weeks and feels lost when we break our rhythm.
All three girls settle down for bed much better when we follow our bedtime routine. They have comfort in knowing what’s coming next.
Jill Cedar, a contributor to VeryWell Family, says in her article “Why Does Consistency Matter in Parenting?”,
Consistency in terms of structure and routine provides the limits and boundaries for children that help them to organize and integrate information into their brain and gain an understanding of how the world works.
How to create rhythms and routines for your kids
So now that you know what rhythms and routines are, and why they’re important, you probably want to introduce a few into your family, right? Grab your calendar, a pen, and a notebook, and try these ideas to get you started.
Think of your must-do’s.
Do you have any obligations that you need to take into account? Appointments, school, lessons, and practices would all fall into this category. Make a note of these on your calendar.
Next, look for critical points in your day and build from there.
Think of the anchors of your day. Mealtimes, bedtimes, etc. These things happen every single day, so you should plan for them. I mean, I’m not the only one with kids who demand to eat several times each day, right?
Work in any routines.
At this point, you can see which things you do on a daily or weekly basis. Some of them may benefit from a routine.
Do your kids have specific tasks you’d like them to accomplish when they get up in the morning? Before bed? Before leaving the house or at the beginning or end of a meal? Then these are great times to add in routine!
When kids have a routine in certain areas of their days, they don’t have to think so much about what they’ll do next. Eventually, a habit is built, and they know what needs to be done before they get in the car to head to soccer practice.
As you’re building these routines, sometimes it’s helpful to have a visual of some kind. With older kids, this may be a checklist. For younger kids that aren’t reading, a visual schedule can be a lifesaver!
More Resources for Rhythms and Routines
I’m telling you, incorporating rhythms and routines into our days has made such an incredible impact! The girls know what to expect during the week and at specific parts of our day. Our days are so much smoother because of it!
If you want some more information about including rhythms and routines into your life, you might enjoy these posts and podcasts.
Getting Out of the House with a Toddler– This post has tricks and tips I’ve used with our girls to make leaving the house a little less chaotic.
Start Small: Rhythms and Routines– The Homeschool Sisters walk you through setting up rhythms and routines in your homeschool in this podcast.
How to Create a Simple Homeschool Schedule– In this post, I talk about how I use our daily rhythms and routines to create a homeschool “schedule.”
So what do you think of this concept? Is it new to you, or are you already a rhythm and routine expert? I’m always looking for new ideas to keep our days on track, so leave your thoughts in the comments!