The following is by editor Kara Fleck.
On Monday I shared some thoughts about daily rhythm and routines and gave you an outline of our family’s rhythm. Today I’m going to talk with you about weekly rhythm and routines and share my family’s general weekly schedule.
Just like daily routines vary from family to family, weekly routines are also very personal. What is practical and works for one family may not apply to another.
I’ve heard from some parents that it is actually less daunting to begin incorporating rhythm and routines on a weekly basis, rather than a daily basis. Whatever works for your family and is the best fit for YOU is the way to go, in my book.
Weekly Anchor Points
I have found that it helps the flow of my family’s life if our weeks have anchor points, just as in our daily rhythm.
For example, I try to run all of our errands and schedule all of our appointments on the same day of the week. Having a regular library day helps us keep overdue books to a minimum and having a set appointment day helps with overseeing the many different care providers for a family of five. Knowing what day of the week I’m doing the grocery shopping aids in menu planning, too.
I want to share with you two key components of my family’s weekly routine. Keep in mind that we are a family of five with one parent working outside the home, one parent working from the home (and thus with the kids during the day). Our kids are nine, four, and two and we also homeschool.
Activities as an Anchor
We have a rotating schedule of activities. This gives me the best of both worlds: it breaks up the potential tedium of life with small children with something fun to do each day, and it allows me to go on “auto pilot” as far as my planning of each week goes. The variety and the ease are what make this routine worthwhile to me as a parent.
When I was in elementary school, I can remember knowing what day of the week it was by what activity we had in school that day – music, art, gym, etc. I knew that the comfort of those rhythms was something I wanted to offer my own children in our home environment.
We have had a weekly painting day at our house since my oldest was a toddler. Over the years we have added in other daily activities.
Last year, I also began include a fine motor skills day (such as lego, puzzles, using a small loom for weaving, etc.) after noticing the positive effect it has, not only for my younger children, but also for my oldest. As Jillian’s finger strength and dexterity improves, I have found that so has her handwriting.
Our activities rhythm looks like this:
- Monday – cooking and baking
- Tuesday – watercolor painting
- Wednesday – coloring
- Thursday – fine motor skills/handwork
- Friday – practical life (monthly: fire drill)
- Saturday – library, running errands
These activities can (and do) happen at other times during the week, too. Coloring happens on a daily basis around here and so does cooking, certainly. But these are the days I am intentional and plan for.
I make sure that I have the supplies ready and that I’m prepared. I set aside a specific block of time for the day’s activity and then I join in with the children, too.
Color as an Anchor
This is an idea that I first read about in a kindergarten curriculum book. We’ve been following the Colors of the Day for years. I started to incorporate color when looking for ways to gently and easily create a rhythm with very small children. Color has certainly been easy to include into our days.
The rhythm of the colors of the day looks like this:
- Monday – purple
- Tuesday – red (or pink)
- Wednesday – yellow
- Thursday – orange
- Friday – green
You can read more about how we use the Colors of the Day in this post on my Rockin’ Granola blog.
Now, I am certainly not naive enough to think that when I have a house full of teenagers we’ll still be observing the color of the day. But right now my kids – especially my four and two year olds – think it is fun and it makes other aspects of my life, including the laundry, easier.
Other Weekly Rhythms
We have also had unintentional things come up that ended up becoming a steady part of our weekly rhythm. For example, my son Max thinks the garage trucks that come down our street every Wednesday morning are the coolest vehicles there are. So, Wednesday mornings will usually find all activities in our household coming to a stop when the kids hear the roar of the trucks turning on to our block on trash day.
Some activities might only be a part of your weekly rhythm on a seasonal basis. For example, gardening tasks, a weekly play date at the park, or visiting the farmer’s market might take place during warm weather months.
Other Possible Routines:
- A phone call to Grandma and Grandpa
- Saturday morning donuts
- Date Night for mom and dad
- Family movie and pizza night (we call ours the “Friday Night Nest”)
- Play dates or play groups
- Weekend sporting events
- Music lessons
- Church, worship
Families might find that some variety, or even incorporating a monthly routine, is useful, too. We try to make one of our errand days per month a field trip day where we visit a zoo or museum. There are holidays, extended family get-togethers, and special events to consider, too.
And, just like anything else, sometime life happens and the week doesn’t go according to plan. That is okay, too. I just try to pick up where we are and go on from there. Being flexible is another useful tool for a parent. Remember, this is about adding some peace and some ease to your week, not about perfection.
What Works for You?
A color a day and one activity per day have been easy layers to add in to my family’s weekly rhythm. I hope this post has given you some inspiration if you’re looking for simple ways to add rhythm to your days with young children.
I would love to hear about your family:
- Do you have a weekly routine?
- Did you perhaps find it easier to implement in the beginning than a daily routine? Or more difficult?
- How did you decide what to include your weekly routines? What to leave out?
- What other factors affect your routine?
- Does your weekly routine change with the seasons?
If you’ve blogged about your weekly rhythm and routine, I’d love for you to leave a link in the comments so that others can check it out.
What works for YOU?