5 Simple Ways to Invite More Rhythm to Your Days

5 Simple Ways to Invite Rhythm into Your Daily Life | SimpleKids.netReaders, I’m so happy to share this guest post with you today that was written by my friend Kathy Stowell.  I think you’ll love what she has to say about adding rhythm to your days. – Kara

Maybe it’s the half-Latina in me but, ay carumba, I love rhythm! But it wasn’t always this way.

I resisted rhythm at the beginning of my parenting journey because of my mom. A full-blooded Latina, she really pressed upon me the importance of a strong daily rhythm with a new-born babe in the house.

Unfortunately, at the time, she used the word ‘routine.’ Something about that word repelled me back then and I resisted. So I went about my happy, ‘no rhyme or reason’ ways. But, as it turns out, Mamisita was right. Embracing a strong rhythm to our family’s days offers a whole host of benefits.

Luckily, I noticed this in time for the welcoming of our second child four years later.

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Creating family friendly routines: stay flexible, stay sane.

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This week I’m talking about keeping our sanity and our smiles by creating family friendly routines.  This is easier said than done in the face of play groups, extra curricular activities, sports, clubs, family events, church, school, and all of the other things that can be competing for a family’s squares on the calendar.

I am a mama who likes to have a general rhythm to her week  and her days, as I believe it helps both myself and the kids to have anchor points.  Planned activities break up the potential tedium of life with small children with something fun and it allows me to go on “auto pilot” each week. However, even a routine planned out with the best of intentions can cause problems if it is too rigid.

One of the key things I’ve learned about family rhythm and routines is to stay flexible and allow yourself to make changes if things aren’t working.  This one is tough for me sometimes because I can get so mentally married to my pretty schedule and color coded system that it is hard to let go of it, even when part (or all) of it just isn’t working.

Perhaps the day of the week you chose for crafting with your kids is creating stressful afternoons because there isn’t enough time to devote to a project between nap time and dinner preparations (not that I’ve totally made that mistake or anything).  Or maybe you’ve discovered that your regular library day coincides with preschool story time and the kid section is packed, which is a completely overwhelming situation for your toddler.

By staying flexible you can play around with your schedule until you find a day and a time that are a better fit.  Or, you might even find that dropping the activity altogether is the best thing for everyone.  It doesn’t mean you are saying no to that forever, it just means that right now you’re letting it go.

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Creating family friendly routines: keep it simple and be selective.

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January is the time for new calendars, fresh starts, and for many of us the new year is when we revamp our family routines.  But I have found that adding new elements to an established routine or altering schedules when life situations change can be a bit of a juggling act.

This week I’m going to talk about some things I have found it helpful to keep in mind when creating routines and establishing a rhythm in our home.

Normally on Simple Kids I try to write things that I think will be helpful to my readers, but I admit this time I’m writing these as much as a reminder to myself.

Our family’s rhythm and routines are changing a bit as the kids get older.  For one thing, we have more commitments outside of the home and for another, my youngest is a toddler now so our days aren’t the same as they were during the seven years or so when we always had a baby in the house.

Plus, between illness, extreme weather, and some schedule and household changes I’m finding myself in a bit of a transition stage and not the  calm groove I was hoping to kick off the new year with.  Maybe some of you can relate?

So, here are a few reminders for us all about keeping our lives simple and being selective about what we add to our day planners.

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Back to School Shopping: Mom's Essentials and the Kids' Essentials (Target Inner Circle)

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Note:  I”m a member of the Target Inner Circle and Target generously provided some gift cards so that the kids and I could go back to school shopping.  All opinions expressed below are my own, of course.

Last Friday I mentioned that we had already started school here and it was time for me to face the music and (insert ominous movie soundtrack here) go back to school shopping.  

Actually I shouldn”t complain about it because I really do love back to school and all the new-pencil-fresh-sheets-of-paper joy that comes with it.  It is a time of year full of possibilities.  Hopefully that feeling is contagious and spreads to my kiddos, too.

When a friend heard we were back to school shopping she was taken aback, “why are you back to school shopping?  Don”t you still homeschool?”  Yes, homeschoolers use pencils and gluesticks, too. Oh, boy, do we ever!

Also, this year my kids are involved in more clubs and activities than ever, so we added some “on the go” gear like lunchboxes and backpacks to our shopping list along with our annual restocking of the school supply cubbies.

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Simple Solutions for Stain Removal

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This Summer I’ll be re-running some of my favorite Simple Kids posts as Summer ReRuns. Today’s post is one of the first ones I ever bookmarked from SK, way back from 2009 before I was the editor here.  Megan shares some tips on stain removal that are timely during the Summer when there are so many wonderfully messy opportunities for fun. – Kara

Nature is inviting all of us to come outside and play.

No one wants to interrupt a glorious game of tag or bring a delicious and juicy dessert of fresh strawberries to a premature end for fear of stained clothing, but we also want to be good stewards of the material possessions we have by taking good care of them.  Yesterday, Asha at Parent Hacks shared her Almost Sure-Fire Clothing Stain Removal tip, and it reminded me that I have a few ideas of my own to share on summer stains.

1) Whenever possible, set aside some of the summer wardrobe for “play clothes” – for children and adults alike.  If everyone is playing outside in clothes that have been purposed for play, no one (not even the grown-ups) will give a second thought to rolling in the grass or indulging in a drippy, melt-y chocolate ice cream cone.

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