September 15, 2014

Simplicity Parenting Notes: Rhythm

Here are some more notes from a great book I enjoy rereading every once in awhile to make sure I'm slowing down and simplifying. These particular notes are just on the Rhythm Chapter. 

I apologize if not all the sentences are complete, but these are just my notes from the book, starting with a list of highlighted principles about rhythm.

Simplicity Parenting: Rhythm
  1. Increasing the rhythm of your home life is one of the most powerful ways of simplifying your children’s lives
  2. Rhythm and ritual are what we aim for; predictability may be what we can achieve (children under seven need a preview/visual of the day so they know what to expect)
  3. With ‘predictability,” a child knows what to expect (reduce the ways your children are caught by surprise by providing advance notices)
  4. Rhythms establish a foundation of cooperation and connection
  5. Any repeated “note” or activity of the day can be made more rhythmic
  6. Rhythm builds islands of consistency and security throughout the day
  7. The rhythms of family life provide consistency; the best ones also offer connection
  8. Relationships are often built in the intervals, the spaces between activities, when nothing much is going on
  9. Simplification established an unspoken emphasis on relationship
  10. Committing to rhythm builds trust and relational credits: a connection that is “bankable”
  11. The magic of rhythms is in the process, not the particulars
  12. Food is meant to nourish, not entertain or excite. As parents simplify, their kids’ food issues diminish or resolve quite naturally
  13. Consistency reinforces value that are larger than personal preferences
  14. Two or three “pressure valves” built into the day will help a child fall asleep at bedtime (activities where a child can “lose himself in” allows for a release of tension, and the mental ease needed to process the day’s events.)

Even if rhythm remains elusive, you can still provide your kids more security by increasing predictability in their daily lives. 
The implication of rhythms is that there is an author behind how we do things as a family. Parental authority is strengthened by rhythms: there is order and safety. Rhythm carves the necessary channels for discipline, making it more intrinsic than imposed and much less parent verbiage, effort and fewer problems around transition.

A rhythm’s value comes from the intention behind.
Do we have intention in our daily and weekly family life and rhythms? If we haven’t thought about it, maybe we need to. Here are some ways to think about it in regards to our family life being compared to a musical piece.

· Main Chords: What are the consistent chords of your day and week?
For most it is generally meal times and bed time. Having these times set helps kids order their day and better place their physical, emotional and intellectual view of the world.
Stable foundation to facilitate their own mapmaking. Meaning hides in repetition

·         Notes: What melody or events are you creating in your week?
events and activities planned in

·         Rests and Pauses: Are their periods of rest in your day?
These moments during the day give more meaning and emphasis to various parts of the music. IT shouldn’t all blur together as one long day. Take time to breath between each activity by not scheduling too tightly. We normally stick to one main activity each morning or afternoon and rarely back-to-back time-sensitive activities. The afternoon (12-2) is always quiet-time: naps for those who need it and just reading time and personal quiet time for those who don’t nap. This is a great time to rejuvenate and act like “pressure valves.”

·         Tempo: What is the speed of your week?
Some days will be fast and some slow. Be sure to add variety and plan in a few slow days to follow a crazy weekend rush of activities that had you flying all over. Think of them as A and B days. We try to plan one day in and one day out with friends so we’re not always out and about. It might help to break your days into AM, Afternoon, PM…but we try to limit evening activities (so PM for us means afternoon, before dinner).

Here’s an example of a weekly tempo:
A Days (slow): Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Friday
B Days (fast): Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday

Here’s an example of a week rhythm: 
And a video introduction to ours

 simplified view of the rhythm schedule

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