I've been working on rediscovering our family rhythm in recent days. I understand the value or rhythm. I really do. And yet, I find myself feeling burdened by it at times. Maybe I've taken it too far. Too rigid or nearly a "schedule". Too much included in our rhythm leaving little room for the free form days we gravitate towards.
My resistance to schedule has me protesting my own rhythm. How helpful.
When Sage was small he taught me the value of a solid rhythm. Transitions were easy when he knew what was coming well in advance – I learned that lesson early. In contrast, transitions were downright painful when he did not. I prepaved, I honored our rhythm, I made sure he knew what was on deck well before it happened.
To reinforce our rhythm, I made the rhythm chart above for Sage and I when he was two. (Back then I could only find six colors of wool felt but when I did I thought I had struck gold.) The idea came from my mom, an occupational therapist (OT) who was helping us maneuver some of the challenges of Sage's early years when his behavior teetered more towards/onto the autistic spectrum. The idea was an instant hit and helped him know when we were going to the park, when friends would visit, what came before bedtime. It created ease for us both. The rhythm chart brought a tone of ease to his childhood if you believe it.
As Sage grew up we hit our groove without it and eventually stopped using the chart. Somehow it ended up in a bin of random stuff in storage until yesterday. Lupine discovered it during a recent purge and begged me to keep it and bring it upstairs. I was going to get rid of it but with her prodding decided to make new tags for it and put it to use again. After all, our rhythm is suffering this season, so why not give it another go? It's dirty and old, but what the heck. It's still pretty cute if I do say so myself.
The anchors of our day are formed by meals and bedtime. Some tags we use everyday, or even twice a day (checklist for example or daily chores). After completing that task we simply move the tag to its next location.
I made the tags pictured out of a rainbow of wool felt yesterday, cut out and glued together with tacky glue. A few are done with Sharpie on felt. Felt sticks to felt, so for now we just slap them on the calendar and let them hang their by their own magnetism. I may add velcro to the backs later on if they drop off too easily. (Last time our tags were printed out from an OT program that my mom had then laminated and velcro attached. A friend made one with drawings and stickers and magnets and stuck her chart on the fridge. Use your imagination to create your own.)
This bach of tags include: housekeeping, morning checklist, art, outside time, quiet time, reading our chapter, and special activities for our homeschooling week (farm day, horseback riding, piano, bicycle club, homeschool group, etc.). We attached it to a bulleten board and hung it low in our homeschooling/play room. The kids gravitate towards it, craving the rhythm that we have created.
Before the felt was put away Lupine added one more tag to our our set, letting me know her intentions for the coming year: Ballet. I'll bet you didn't see that one coming.