Parenting means constantly updating on what works and what doesn’t, but I think being aware of the environment that the kids naturally project, and being patient with it – working within those parameters, and not trying to force my own (much faster paced) rhythm onto them, is a big help in day to day life.
So recently, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about rhythm…examining our days and actively taking note of how they flow and feel and what enhances the most harmonious atmosphere amongst the kids. I noticed that the kids seem to seek out a natural balance, the yin and yang if you will, for their daily schedule. For example, and pretty much without exception, they seem to do best when given an allotment of “free” (unstructured) time followed by a more structured activity (watercolors, clay, books, etc.). We go back and forth all through the day with this little rhythm that the girls naturally have (and I finally consciously picked up on!). It makes sense from a developmental standpoint, and it’s exciting to witness.
Being aware of the natural rhythms (and by “natural” I mean unmodified by the electric babysitter, or extenuating circumstances such as illness) of your home is helpful for getting all the little essential’s done, like laundry…I know that when the girls want to play in an unstructured way, I have about 20 to 30 minutes of free time for myself to work on dishes, laundry, etc.
I’ve also found that as a parent, I have to be aware of the natural rhythms in my kid’s personalities. Sophia is quite easy-going, most of the time. Grace is much more specific and appreciates structure in a way Sophia never did. These are differences which were easy to pick up on from the start with both of them, and which help me take into consideration deviations in plans, changes in rhythms, outings, etc.