In the Waldorf community you will hear the word 'rhythm' a lot. I have loved learning more about what rhythm looks like and how to create a more Waldorf inspired environment in our days at home. At first I just thought, okay you're replacing the words 'routine' or 'schedule' with 'rhythm' and making it sound 'prettier.' And in a sense that is exactly what rhythm is but with more intention and that is the part of it I've fallen in love with. The point of creating daily rhythm is to slow down, create calm, encourage creativity and i'm sure the list could go on (I'm still learning.) For us, keeping to a schedule just meant we did x y and z at certain times of the day but there was no real intention or mindfulness behind any of it. Don't get me wrong, we still eat, nap, sleep at specific times but the freedom I've found through creating these natural rhythms has been so, so good for me and my girls in our days. And also, I'm still learning and struggling to find balance in creating these rhythms versus falling into old habits like having the TV on for my daughter while I'm cooking or putting the baby in for naps, etc. Another element that has been hard for us to work around is the fact that Ru does not like to play or work if i'm not with her AT ALL. We are a work in progress and I'd love to hear from others who are maybe on a similar journey.
So what does that actually look like? For me, our home environment is a huge part of it. No clutter, clean spaces (of course you can't focus so much on this aspect or you'll go crazy but it definitely helps set the tone,) soft music playing throughout a lot of the day (Renee and Jeremy are a favorite around here) a lot of creating through art, a lot of candles, involvement from my girl in preparing meals, washing dishes, taking care of plants and designated quiet times. As part of quiet time I just started having it start by making my daughter a cup of tea (which I got from other Waldorf mama's.) It's just a nice, quiet way to set the tone of quieting her body and she loves adding honey and stirring it. I often will turn on a show for her at this point in the day which I have a love hate relationship with but I just can't figure out another way for her to rest her body without needing me. I've tried a basket of books, some music, even just some coloring but she always ends up running wild with her imagination (which is not a bad thing!) and doesn't end up resting at all. We are working on it. (Also with that said, I am definitely in the camp of thinking a bit of TV is not the end of the world. She has honestly learned so much from shows like Daniel Tiger, Creative Galaxy, and sweet shows like Stella and Sam. So no shame there! :) Anywho....
How do I incorporate daily rhythm and Montessori idea's together? Well, a huge part of the Montessori philosophy rests in the idea of the prepared environment. I've talked a lot about this is the past but to touch on it again, for us this means my children have access to everything they need in a day without needing assistance from me. Their toys or 'work', snacks, water, their dishes and utensils, their clothing and shoes, etc. Ruthie finds so much joy from real life work and it helps me slow down and allow her to be independent. Sometimes that looks like 5 extra minutes to get shoes on but she is so confident and happy when she is able to do these sorts of tasks on her own. When we actually give our children the gift of independence, you will find they are so capable! I also love Montessori materials so we have quiet a bit of those in our play/work space. (I mention what we have out right now in this post.)
I'd love to hear what your days look like and what sorts of 'rhythms' you've created in your home.