Toddlers and young children thrive on routines. That’s why building a simple daily rhythm is so important if you want life at home to run smoother.
Have you ever thought about why children act out during events like Christmas or even a trip to grandma’s? It’s because they are out of their usual routines! Young children really thrive when they have a regular flow to their days. Whilst the word ‘routine’ can make some come out in a cold sweat, establishing a general rhythm to your days helps your child to feel safe and secure.
My days used to lack structure and I struggled to juggle working from home with spending quality time with my children. Some days I’d overdo it with tonnes of activities, others I could barely force myself to get out of the house.
When I introduced a simple and predictable daily rhythm, life had structure again. I was able to ensure that my children had plenty of time to play and be outside but I also had time to do my work and pursue my own interests – without feeling guilty about it!
How a rhythm will help life at home:
A rhythm will help both you and your children know what to expect each day. Over time and with plenty of practice, your child will start to understand this rhythm to their days.
- It minimises the potential for tantrums, particularly when it comes to transitions that happen during the day.
- A daily rhythm helps children to understand when they can really get stuck into play.
- It helps establish boundaries, so that you can get on with work or other activities, whilst your children play.
- A daily rhythm allows you to go 100% all-in on whatever you’re doing because there is a clear structure to your day.
Here are 5 essentials for building a daily rhythm at home:
Cup-filling activity: Spend some quality time together. This could be as small as having a hug and telling your child that you love and appreciate them, to going on a special trip together.
Independent Play: This should make up the majority of your day. Developing play independence is essential for both you and your child.
Outdoor Time: At least two hours each day should be outdoors. This is crucial for wellbeing and behaviour.
An Invitation to Play or Create: If your child doesn’t attend nursery or preschool, one planned activity each day will help your child develop new interests and skills. Alternatively, try a practical life activity.
Reading Together: Books should be part of your daily routine. Not only is it a lovely way to bond but helps to develop essential learning skills such as reading, speaking & listening.
By having a daily rhythm, you should also gain more time back for self-care too. Spending time on your own wellbeing can sometimes feel so hard but dedicating at least 10 minutes each day to yourself, whether that be to meditate, journal or do some exercise is absolutely crucial to your wellbeing.
How a daily rhythm has helped me:
As mentioned in the introduction, my days at home used to sway between complete overwhelm and mind-numbing boredom! As the ‘default parent’, the vast majority of the tasks related to childcare fell to me. This is not to say that my husband is hands-off, he is in fact a very involved dad, but the reality of our situation (as expat Brits doing regular postings to different countries), he has job commitments that make it difficult for him to do more.
When I wanted to start taking This Playful Home to the next level, I initially felt frustrated by my lack of opportunities to get things done. I couldn’t open my laptop without being climbed all over or asked for a snack! After years spent at home being the ‘default parent’, I really wanted to start achieving things for myself.
Over the years I have created a steady daily rhythm that really works for me and my family. It brings us all a sense of calm and allows me to feel more connected to my children without sacrificing absolutely everything in the process.
Here are some of the benefits I’ve seen:
- Better flow to our days: we’re not crazy busy one day and bored the next.
- We get outside more: did you know that experts recommend at least 2 hours outside every single day? We’re able to now achieve this in all seasons because it’s an important part of our daily rhythm. Even better is that fact that it makes us all feel better about ourselves!
- I can work during the day: I used to be all about the naptime hustle and work in the evenings, but that left me feeling frustrated because I never had any time to myself. Now I can get a couple of hours work done mid-morning after our outside time.
- My children are better at playing independently: because they aren’t being constantly interrupted to go and do other things, they can really get stuck into their play.
- My children transition throughout the day with less resistance: they know what to expect during the rhythm of our day which means that transitions like tidy-up time, dinner time and bedtime run much smoother.