“This idea of definite work to be finished in a given time is valuable to the child, not only as training him in habits of order, but in diligence; he learns that one time is not as good as another; that there is no right time left for what is not done in its own time; and this knowledge alone does a great deal to secure the child’s attention to his work.”
I’ve found this to be true in our home life. Things just run smoother when everyone knows what to expect. When we took a break this summer, we unfortunately let go of a lot of the routine that had been naturally established. The summer has waned and with it has come strain- ugly attitudes and whining that have stressed everyone out. It never fails to amaze me that when the school rhythm comes back in to play, invariably the discipline issues reduce- my kids don’t have time to get in to trouble, so to speak. As Charlotte notes, it helps the children internalize self-control and attention.
I’ve been thinking this week as school has begun that while school has a definable, relatively graceful rhythym throughout the day, our time outside of school is still rather unorganized and unpredictable save for the fact that our meals happen at the same and regular intervals. Some things we have done in the past I’d like to bring back into play. One was offered by the lovely Elise- a tea time- (which I think she had in turn learned from Sally Clarkson). In the past we aimed for about four o’clock, which was just about the right time to transition from indoor to outdoor play until daddy comes home.
Most of all, I’d like to add some grace and predictability to routines already in place- lighting the candles at dinner, for example. I’ve begun to rise before my children wake in the morning- which is so tough for this night owl mama- and it means that I can greet them softly and slowly (versus the usual screaming dash for sustenance that leaves everyone growling). I’ve been looking around for ideas.
What have you been doing that helps your family keep a gentle rhythm in place?