Tools for Discipline: Rhythm
I wrote here about my favorite discipline tool: Connection. Coming in close behind are Rhythm, Environment, and Imitation. Rhythm is an intentional flow which you have crafted for your days, weeks, and seasons (you can read more about what rhythm is here). Rhythm lends itself to a peaceful family life in so many ways.
Rhythm creates predictability
Rhythm sets the stage for predictability in the home. With so many choices and so many demands on our time in modern life, our days and weeks can look really chaotic. Especially from a child's point of view. Young children crave consistency and repetition because these make them feel secure and safe. When they know what to expect, they can relax into their play. A strong rhythm in the home helps children feel calm and people who are calm act better (parents too). It is hard to overemphasize how important this is for small children!
Rhythm leads to easier transitions
Rhythm creates a familiar sequence of events, so it is especially helpful for transitions from one activity to the next. Children like knowing what comes next and this helps them to be partners in maintaining the rhythm. I think parents like it too, and they have more confidence in leading to the next thing if they have a rhythm to guide them. Rather than having to negotiate over every change in activity, we all know for example that we tidy up after lunch and then we have our quiet time (or whatever it is for your family). The days flow so much smoother once this is in place!
Rhythm keeps you in the mode of pro-active parenting
It feels good to go into the day with a plan, and children feel calmer when you do. And it feels good at the end of the day when you have spent it nurturing, connecting, playing, and taking care of the home, rather than rushing around putting out fires. A plan in place helps you keep calm and carry on when things start getting crazy.
Rhythm helps you ensure that needs are being met
Meals and snacks at predictable times prevent blood-sugar melt-downs. Regular routines for napping and sleeping increase the chances that everyone gets the rest they need. When basic needs are met in a predictable way, it relieves stress for everybody.
Rhythm allows you to emphasize connection in your day
Slowing down and connecting with your kids is invaluable but it can get lost in the busyness of modern life. Children need time to be at home, time to be with their families, time to connect with nature. If you protect their time for these things, they will be calmer and less over-stimulated little people. If you prioritize connection in your rhythm, you meet one of their most basic needs, and you will find that you have a strong foundation for a peaceful home.