I have been thinking a lot lately about what the future of our family will look like over the years to come. I dream about major moments like a first tooth and building our dream home, but mostly I wonder about the seemingly insignificant moments of everyday life. The daily, weekly, monthly and even yearly ebb and flow of our lives. What will our mornings look like? How will we mark the transition from Summer to Autumn? How will we remain connected as we navigate life? There are so many memories that are yet to happen which I know will sadly get lost in the hands of time – yet, if there was something to cling to, an anchor if you will, maybe these memories will burrow a little further into my recollection reel.
Enter: rhythms and routines (which I use interchangeably).
As I have gotten older and started a family of my own, the idea of traditions and rhythms and routines really intrigues me. I love the idea of introducing a singular, or a series of events to anchor our lives. Little things that we anticipate with eagerness, enjoy in the moment, and then reflect on with all the warm and fuzzies. I want my babe to look back and remember the simple and most likely mundane things as special memories that we have created together.
From my research, and from my own experiences, by their predictability, routines provide stability and security to children. Routines can also help make everyone feel more connected to the family unit as their contributions are purposeful and meaningful. When things are running along smoothly, it also means less stress, more efficiency and more time to spend on other enriching activities.
Some ideas I am mulling around for our own rhythms and traditions:
- Homemade birthday cakes each year.
- Morning and evening rituals based around nourishment, family contributions (chores) and preparation for the day/bedtime.
- Friday night movie night.
- Dinner at the kitchen table most nights. Technology free.
- Weekly library trips and nightly reading.
- Experiences (or things that assist an experience e.g. a bike) as birthday/milestone presents rather than material objects such as plastic toys.
- A seasonal nature table.
- Reoccurring meals like Taco Tuesday.
- A slow Christmas morning at home with breakfast before the festivities begin.
I know what you’re probably thinking. These ideas sound lovely and all but what about that little thing called life? How on Earth are you going to maintain all this? I know it’s probably impossible and I am not so naive to think that we will do all of these, all of the time and everything will be perfect. Of course our lives will change and some rhythms will stay and some will go but for me the intention of connecting our family is what matters.
I guess the above ideas also give you a little insight as to how we want to live our lives. We have family values that underpin everything that we do (some very high level ones are documented here), and help guide us when we need to make decisions.
I’m not sure how to start these off, or whether it’s too early to start introducing rhythms (Finn is almost 5 months old) but I’m going to start anyway. Watch this space!