Browsing articles in "Our Daily Rhythms"

Disneyland, Harlem Globetrotters and Simple Everydays

Feb 22, 2015   //   by spadmin   //   Our Daily Rhythms, Simple Schedule  //  Comments Off on Disneyland, Harlem Globetrotters and Simple Everydays

pancakes“In the tapestry of childhood, what stands out is not the splashy, blow-out trips to Disneyland, but the common threads that run throughout and repeat: the family dinners, nature walks, reading together at bedtime, Saturday morning pancakes.”
― Kim John Payne

This afternoon my family – husband, two children and visiting grandparents – will be going to see the Harlem Globetrotters.  I have been wanting to take my boys to the show for years and am so excited to finally be going. I have resisted getting tickets in the past because I thought the show – with it’s sure-to-be loud, flashy, potty-humor antics – might be too much for my boys.  Too much because we don’t do a lot of big, loud, flashy stuff.  We mostly do small, fairly quiet, pretty simple things – hikes, reading stories, playing board games, hanging around.

I am quite deliberate about what “extra” things we do on top of our daily activities.  I don’t want us to do too much, to be too busy or to raise the bar so that “entertainment” is the expected mode; I like to have lots of time for my boys to putter around, be bored and figure out what to do next.

But, that does not mean that things at our house are hushed, somber or overly serious.  There is often over-the-top humor, full-throttle basketball games and (let’s keep it real) plenty of boy wrestling that turns the corner between playing and fighting.  Things get messy, loud and chaotic every day.

Yet, the foundational rhythms and activities are fully grounded; they anchor and orient our family life.  The fact that Friday night is Shabbat dinner, reading always happens before bed and our family cheer happens before any road trip are the things that we all rely on and take comfort in.

So, while I hope we have a blast today cheering on those silly Globetrotters, the fun we have will be enhanced both by the rarity of the event and the strong foundation of calm and connection that we share.

 

lisaLisa Weiner, MSN, is a nurse practitioner and Simplicity Parenting Counselor. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and two sons. Find out more about Lisa’s classes, workshops and one-to-one family work at handmadeparenting.com

7 Family Habits Worth Building (and How to)

Mar 3, 2014   //   by spadmin   //   Our Daily Rhythms, Simple Parenting, Teens and Tweens  //  3 Comments

Special thanks to Melitsa Avila, one of our Simplicity Parenting Coaches, and founder of Play Activities and founder of Raising Playful Tots, for this thoughtful and inspiring post.  Which habit will you focus on building today?

 

7 Family Habits worth building and How toIf I were a fly on the wall in your home on a good day what would the atmosphere be like?

It’s interesting how much our family atmosphere or family culture goes up and down.  There’s definitely a rhythm to it.

Now when you think of those golden moments and good times- is it loud dinner time conversations or snuggly book reading?  It’s interesting because when we think about family culture and family atmosphere at home we all think differently.

What I think is cool, you may not, and that’s okay.  Now the question is: how can we get more of the atmosphere we want at home…and does it really matter?

Turns out it does.

Happier families are ones that intentionally make choices.  That’s not to say that every decision they make will be right but when we keep an eye on something, pay attention to something we notice and can respond better.

Why build family habits?

There are a lot of really practical things we share and teach our children like don’t touch it’s hot.  Look before you cross the road.   These are our mantras the kids can finish for us.  Then there are habits we would love to see, but are a little trickier to teach.

  • Habits make us productive.
  • Habits give us time to have fun.
  • Habits give rhythm and structure to a day that otherwise would be spent reacting to everything that’s happening.
  • Habits give us welcome pauses.
  • Habits are a must have for moms and families.

These trickier habits are more about how our family runs, the temperature of it. When you visit some homes, there’s just calm peaceful atmosphere. There’s likely structure, order and more than a side order of fun. The way they speak to each other, how they resolve problems, relate to each other is clear.

It’s not perfect, nor is it supposed to be – but you noticed it.

Building family habits is as easy as noticing it and making the intention to follow through and do it.

Which 7 habits are worth building in my family?

There are many habits to try and where we fail is that we don’t make them age appropriate and we sometimes focus too much on the long term outcomes.

If my 5 year old follows a 2 step direction, I’m happy.  It doesn’t always happen and I hoped by now he would be able to but he’s working on it.  I have an age appropriate response compared to my 10 year old.  Instilling the habit of a clean room is good for him now and later.  But breaking it down into small steps and doing well with each step and building on each step.  This is better right now than the final focus although in view, it is not the sole aim.

Here are our 7

Cheerfulness   My mum sang while she moved around the house, as she ran up the stairs, as we headed out in the car.  Some people are just cheerful.  Her mood was and still is catching.  Cheerfulness is catching.   How we greet each other and our children we set the tone for cheerful interaction.  Our face doesn’t always show are sunny happy feelings ever to our children. We do spend a lot of time looking stern and exasperated.

Determination   “Just keep swimming”  the famous Dory from Nemo said.  Perseverance and determination are just budding in our families.   So many times we hear, ” I can’t do it!” followed by wailing and emotion.  It’s so easy for us as parents to just do it ourselves. It’s quicker.  There’s a time and place for everything.  Encouraging our kids to have grit is good for them now and for the future.  Life is not a sprint.  Family time is the place to cultivate and nurture this ‘muscle’.

Diligence   Haphazard and slapdash.  If you’ve ever asked the kids to do something saying, ” Put all those toys in the box and then we’re going to  { insert your fun thing here}.” What happens? The activity doesn’t get done well.  Kids are easily distracted.  Jo from Organized Chaos talked about in a recent Montessori interview on Raising Playful Tots, that a task is taking it out, doing the activity AND putting it away.  It’s paying attention to the details and showing our children they can do it that matters.

Listening   So many misunderstandings happen because we didn’t listen.  We misunderstood.  Life is busy, work all consuming, children constant… waves of tiredness threaten to take over yet we can listen fully.  Listen in two ways. Listen to others.  Get good opinions.  Cultivate a home where we let each other speak.  Interrupt less and not cut each  other off when we think we know what they are going to say.

Patience   Things don’t always work out when we think they will. That note to school took longer to write.  The laces to longer to tie and that zipper too. In a calm home there is space for patience. “We’ve got time….try again.”  “It’s alright to get it wrong here….why don’t you try again…this time….”

Reflection  When life moves at such a pace we don’t get a chance to look back and reflect on what went so well and what you’d never want to happen again.  Not just an activity for New Year’s a family that looks back is able to build on their strengths.  Take different directions and work to the needs of the family than feeling tossed around by the sea of life.

Self control   Being able to put off things now so that later you can have it is hard.  Not doing something even though every fibre in your body is willing you to do it.  Knowing to think first act next.  Self control not a popular or easy idea when you can get almost everything instantly.  Children need the time and space to develop self control at home.  It’s hard.  But there’s space for waiting and getting a reward.

How can we build these family habits?

Well this is the place that most of us get stuck. We want to do these things but somehow days turn into months and then years. New challenges come our way.

First we need to become more intentional.  Focus on what’s important and decide to make it happen in our family.  What is important? We need to have regular discussions and make sure we’re staying on track. Working in our family is not the same as work where we have trophies, promotions and bonuses to track our success.  Working in our family has its rewards but it’s not the same.  Yet we see later on the choices we made and in how things work out.

 

Melitsa_UKMelitsa is a military wife and mother of 3 active boys.  She is a certified Simplicity Parenting Coach in the UK and works both locally and online to support parents in building the family life they envision.  You can visit her website to subscribe to her podcast and find more inspiration in the rich resources and learning opportunities she has put together for parents:  She has founded Play Activities – intentional adventures in early childhood play and Raising Playful Tots.

My Small, Doable Change

breakfastAfter several years of incorporating the ideals of Simplicity Parenting (SP) into my family life — being instructed by them and seeing the way they went hand-in-hand with the parenting wisdom I had been learning at the feet (literally, while she walked around the room doing her magic, I would sit on the floor with my children) of my mentor at my childrens’ Waldorf School — last summer I decided to become a Simplicity Parenting Coach.

During the training, I learned about an idea which is one of the keys to teaching SP classes: the small, doable change.  For it is one thing to have lofty and sweeping ideas about how one is going to change one’s family rhythm, schedule and environment and quite another (more realistic) thing to have a specific thing you plan to change– to identify a place of struggle, imagine how you would like it to be and finding a concrete way to transform the current reality into that imagined place.

 As I was training to teach people about small, doable changes, it seemed only fair that I try the process out firsthand.  The source of dissatisfaction I identified was the daily conflict over what I would make my boys for breakfast — I would come into the kitchen with a few ideas and would ask the boys which one they would like; inevitably, they would choose different things and then whichever food I decided to make would be a source of upset for the “loser”.  One of them would be upset, I would feel frustrated and breakfast time would be colored by this daily morning drama.

 The culprits here?  Giving too many choices and Mama not being in charge!  In the “Rhythms” chapter of Simplicity Parenting, Kim Payne recommends a dinner schedule, such as Mondays are chicken, Tuesdays are beans, and so on.  This is also how Waldorf early childhood teachers structure their snacks.  For a long time, in our home, Monday was “Rice Day”, Tuesday was “Bread Day” and Wednesday was “Millet Day.” So, in learning from these sources, the small doable change I came home from my training with was to implement a breakfast schedule.

 

Yes, I procrastinated; I don’t think I actually introduced this schedule for two weeks after I came home.  And, predictably, I was met with resistance when I first introduced this idea — and I totally got it, because I, too, had had the same resistance (isn’t is “boring” to have an eating schedule? What if we just don’t “feel like” eating X on this particular morning? Where’s the fun?)

But, I toed the line: “I hear that you don’t like oatmeal, but it’s Monday and that’s what we have.” And now, five months in, this small piece of paper with the colorful writing has completely eliminated the daily breakfast conflict and transformed the tone of our mornings.  I won’t say that we don’t have other conflicts that happen sometimes in the mornings (let’s keep it real – this is family life with young children), but the daily one over what we would eat is gone, and breakfast, on the whole, is much more enjoyable.

This change was: simple, small, doable and, also, completely powerful.  It has had many ripple effects: more politeness at the table, my boys learning how to cook each breakfast because they watch me do it week after week the same way, less complaining about food at other meals and knowing that what mama says, mama means.  This experience sold me on the idea of the small, doable change and I have been making more and more of them ever since.

 

Lisa Weiner is a Simplicity Parenting coach in Portland, Oregon.  A former women’s health nurse practitioner,  Lisa enjoys cooking, cleaning (yes, really!), reading and crafting.  She is the lucky & proud mama of two young boys.

Introducing New Foods to Picky Eaters – Q&A with Kim John Payne

Nov 17, 2013   //   by spadmin   //   Nourishing Food, Our Daily Rhythms  //  5 Comments

This Question-and-Answer session came from the Soul of Discipline webinar Kim hosted last year.  This question of how to help our picky eaters branch out into new food groups and develop lifelong, healthy habits is so pertinent for many of us.  We hope you glean some good ideas from this discussion and share any of your own struggles/successes around this issue in the comments below!

Question:  Do you recommend instructing a child what to eat instead of giving them a choice?  It feels like I am forcing them to eat something that they do not like, and I am afraid that they may develop aversion to food in the future.

Kim says…

Yes, I sure had this worry as well.  Fortunatel,y I had some conversation with number of dietary experts, nutritionists, naturopaths and pediatricians in preparing a research project into a non-medicated approach to working with Attention Priority Issues (API).  A part of the study helped my colleague, Bonnie River, and I develop what we called “The Attention Diet.”

Putting together the puzzle of food refusal of young children was one of our key aims.  You can come up with the greatest diet for kids, but what if they won’t eat it (image that)?  What emerged for us was a specific strategy for food type introduction. Here’s how it goes…

o Really be determined to make this work.  Know that you are doing something that will benefit your child throughout life.

o Picture the process going well.

o Picture yourself staying calm (ish) through the whole process. – Start Small

o For example, take a food group such as brassica and look for the most palatable vegetable in it such as broccoli that is slightly sweeter than some of the others.  Or maybe something that you have a hunch will be less likely to be rejected.

o Put a very small piece of this vegetable in the meal mixed with other foods the child enjoys.  Cut it up small enough so that the taste is minimal.

KEY POINT: Make sure the texture of any spoon full the child eats is something he likes but the flavor of the broccoli is present.  The way the brain works for most children is like a series of gates leading to acceptance.  The first gate is usually texture.  If that gate opens then the chances of the flavor being accepted are much higher, particularly if there is only a small amount of a new flavor contained.

o Build up the amount of broccoli, etc., over time.

 

– Stay Close & Keep it Familiar

o Light a candle… every meal time.

o Say a thank you verse…every meal time.

o Hum a familiar song as you feed a young child.

o Tell or a funny or great moment of the day.

KEY POINT: This is a great way to keep the child from moving into her fight, flight, freeze & refuse brain.

 

– Insist

o Avoid bargaining.

“No, we will have as much a daddy feels is right.”
KEY POINT: Just a very small amount will suffice of the food group. The feedback we have received is that after around a dozen repetitions of the specific food, starting in tiny portions and building it up, the food will very likely be accepted and can become a normal part of the diet. Also it often means that the introduction of other members of the food group will be far less problematic.

o Avoid desert bribery
“If we have just three spoon full’s of broccoli then we can have some ice cream.”  This signals that the whole deal is up for negotiation and meals time turns into collective bargaining sessions.

 

– Follow Through

Don’t give up. Remember it will likely take up to a dozen introductions of the specific food.
If your child rejects the food, that’s fine.  Your way of controlling the situation is to dial back the amount of the specific food if it is meeting resistance and mixing it in with even more appealing textures.  But don’t give up.

One mother joked to me that she had to tell herself several times that it was “somewhat unlikely” that anyone in her family would die of starvation and that if she stuck to her convictions mild hunger would not only be a good friend to the process but would help her achieve compliance in other problematic areas.  Which as exactly what happened.

Book Study Week 4: Rhythm

Oct 24, 2011   //   by Traci McGrath   //   Our Daily Rhythms, Our Weekly Rhythms, Simple Rhythm, Simple Rituals  //  2 Comments

“Meaning hides in repetition:  We do this every day or every week because it matters.  We are connected by this thing we do together.  We matter to one another.  In the tapestry of childhood, what stands out is not the splashy, blow-out trip to Disneyland but the common threads that run throughout and repeat:  the family dinners, nature walks, reading together at bedtime, Saturday morning pancakes.” – Kim John Payne

The message in this chapter is that we can help our children and our families thrive by providing elements of rhythm or predictability.  Kim describes these rhythmic family rituals as “islands of consistency and security” that can give our children a chance to take a breath, to re-center, and to stay balanced.  Learning is increased and tantrums are kept to a minimum.  Our routines need not be complex — It may be one or two simple family rituals that connect your family.  You will be amazed at how everyone benefits, and how you will look forward to these times just as much as your little ones!

If your family is busy, rhythm is still achievable, and is even more important.  If both parents work, if hours are unpredictable, little rituals can work wonders to ground your family and give your children a sense of security.

Many of our parent bloggers have written beautiful posts about their own family rhythms:

  • Laura shared her family’s “food rhythm.”  The meals of the day give predictability, with Tuesday pasta, Thursday soup, etc.  This reminds me of the predictability of summer camp, and seems a great way to envelop children in routine.
  • Kim wrote in this chapter about the importance of the family dinner, and of involving children in the preparation of it.  Even if it is a simple task like washing lettuce or setting the table, involving children will ease their transition to the table.  Other meaningful rituals may be added to dinner time, like a moment of silence, a verse, or a prayer.

You may find some of these inspiring, or you may have your own unique ways of connecting as a family. 

For our discussion this week, let’s spur one another on by sharing what we have begun in our own homes, or what sort of rhythms we plan to implement in our families.  (Discussion is in the comments below.)


Traci lives in Texas with her husband and two little boys.  You can visit her blog, Educated for Love, or see the visual daily rhythm charts she makes at A Kid’s Day.

the (un)rhythm of summer

Sep 5, 2011   //   by Gwendolen Elliott   //   Our Daily Rhythms, Simple Parenting, Simple Rhythm, Simple Schedule  //  Comments Off on the (un)rhythm of summer

Walking stick 2
After such a slow, wet and chilly start to the season, we are finally, blissfully, immersed in summer weather.  But still, already there is a chill in the air that whispers of fall.  I do hope the sun continues to shine into the beginning of September to give all of us west coasters the feeling that we had a great and long summer vacation.  It’s no secret, however, that fall and winter are my favorite seasons, and I’m eager to step into this next cycle of the year.  I love the block of months from September to January- there’s just so much celebration, tradition, and barn raising to guide us during those months.  Summer is so wide open to the day, and rhythm, at least in our house, seems to get lost along the way (or it looks completely different then at other times of the year).  More than anything, summer has an unrhythm, and what we do depends greatly on whether the sun is shining and how warm (or cool, like today) it is.  This changes every single day, making our summer days largely made up on the go and more spontaneous than any other time of the year.

This is all fine, except we thrive on our rhythm.  Coco has been giving up her naps, but I’m noticing that this happens more frequently on the days when we walk Scout in the afternoon rather than the morning.  She likes the rhythm of a walk in the woods, then a nap when we get home.  Before I had a child I believed that children should adapt to fit the changing schedules of the parents, but now I know that though children are incredibly adaptable, they thrive on family rhythm.  Knowing what to expect throughout the day helps them grow and learn (not to mention that they have their own strong personalities and preferences).  For me, rhythm also helps to ground me in what needs to get done; balancing housewifery with play and time in the garden, on the beach, and in the forest.

Trees
As a solution, we’ve found rhythm within the unrhythm of summer.  It’s very basic and it looks something like this:

We wake up and do our usual morning routine– cuddles, nursing, let Scout out, make breakfast, then shower and dress for the day.  These days I then get started on dinner…yes, dinner(!)…usually made or prepped by 10 in the morning.  I find having supper all set to go early in the day so much easier come suppertime given the unrhythm of our summer afternoons.  Then, after walking in the woods with Scout, we come home to lunch and the little one’s nap.

Summer afternoons are all about spontaneity and I’ve given in to that.  While our Autumn and Winter days are usually clearly laid out, the wildness of summer demands that we make the most of the sun on our backs.  Some days, when friends call and the sea beckons, it’s worth dropping all else to hit the beach.  Or, on other days, an afternoon weeding and digging in the garden with the paddle pool for cooling off is just perfect.  There are days when the chores and errands have piled up (due to said spontaneous beachy afternoons) and time has to be devoted to housewifery and trips to the grocery store or farmer’s market.  Always on errand days we search out time to enjoy ourselves and to squeeze in creative time for both Coco and I (crafting, drawing and painting).  For us, summer afternoons are weather and time dependent and the only sense of rhythm is that each day is different and completely unpredictable.

Our summer evenings are the same as any other time of year and involve one of the most important rhythms of the day:  dinner with a candle lit (no matter how sunny it is outside), bath, stories, bed.

It’s as perfect as can be right now and a great balance of all we love about summer (longer days, sand in our shoes, eating, living, and playing outside), and the consistency and foundation of rhythm in our lives.

Embracing unrhythm keeps us grounded and open to last minute summer afternoon plans and those experiences that become our strong summer memories.

Summer entertaining, simply.

Jul 4, 2011   //   by Julie Crispell   //   Moving Toward the Power of Less, Nourishing Food, Our Daily Rhythms, Simple Rhythm  //  1 Comment

As long as I can remember, having people over for dinner always meant trying new recipes, or at least making something complicated that I already knew how to make.  I’m not sure why that is the case.  Even something “easy” like quiche, I would make it more complicated by putting in ingredients like sliced potatoes and asparagus that had to be cooked and sliced and diced before going into the quiche.  And as far as the new recipes were concerned, because I had never made them before, they never really came out as good as they looked in the cookbook and I was often left disappointed.

Recently, eight weeks after the birth of my second child in 20 months to be precise, my husband wanted to invite a few friends over for lunch.  I knew I wasn’t up for cooking a big meal.  The guests offered to bring some fruit and bread.  Now what?  I looked at the ingredients I had on hand and came up with a simple menu that I thought would be pretty good.  It ended up being summery and thoughtful, but still easy and casual–perfect.

First there was egg salad that I made the night before, served in a beautiful pottery bowl, garnished with a sprig of parsley from the plant growing on my balcony.  Then there were chips and salsa.  So far not sounding too elegant, right?  Add in a homemade guacamole that consisted simply of a mashed avocado mixed with a little lemon juice and ranch dressing.  I had some nice cheese, mini pita breads, arugula. My guests brought a baguette, tabouli (a perfect accompaniment), fresh local strawberries and homemade applesauce.

Basically picnic fare, and had I opened the bag of chips and the jar of salsa and set them as is on the table, it would have felt too casual, but served in nice serving dishes and eaten at a table of adults, to me this was a simply fancy meal.  And the topper was that my 21 month-old enjoyed it as much as the adults.

Self-Care: One Toe at a Time

Jun 16, 2011   //   by Yael Saar   //   Our Daily Rhythms  //  9 Comments

Self-care wasn’t modeled for me. I didn’t see self-care as a valid option until I had been a mother desperately in need of it. I imagine how I could have benefited from learning this skill early on – from my mom, in kindergarten, or in college!

It was tricky in the beginning. When I started caring for myself, I wasn’t exactly brilliant at it. It was the first thing to go when things began to get challenging. I easily fell for the “more is better” trap. I felt guilty about wanting to take time just for me, and then guilty about not doing it enough. And then it became something that I was “shoulding” myself to do, wondering “Why can’t I even put the oxygen mask on my face first like a good mother should?” This was a thought that actually went through my head more than once; I’m not kidding. As a result, I began to resent the idea of self-care.

I set myself up for failure by taking on too much, too fast. It became clear that I couldn’t go from a sacrificial lamb to the queen of the castle by the drop of a hat. My self-care I-should-do list looked a lot like this…

* go to the gym

* meditate and breathe deeply to center myself so I’m always calm

* take nice hot baths

* eat spinach

* wear only comfortable shoes

Right…

I tried and I “failed”, and I learned from the process. I concluded that as long as I was seeing self-care as another thing I should excel at, I was simply hurting myself. I realized that my self-care is a skill that I practice. A skill that will develop and grow in baby-steps.

So these days, this is what self-care looks like for me:

* I wear mostly comfortable shoes, and walk barefoot whenever I want to (or wear warm fuzzy slippers in winter). I do get to wear my fancy shoes when those are called for, which is hardly ever. I decide according to my needs, without judgment.

* I enjoy a hot bath as often as I can manage, which is about twice a month.

* When I feel stressed or anxious, I take a few deep breaths. In the kitchen, at the line at the post office, at a red light, before bed. Sometimes it’s just one breath, not even particularly deep. Sometimes I take seven nice deep ones, or thirty-two. Sometimes I don’t, even thou I could benefit from the calming effects of breathing. I don’t force it.

* I drink my spinach. Here’s how: put a handful in a blender with a banana and an apple, add a little liquid of your choice (soymilk works for me), and throw in some ice if you so choose; pulse and sip. It tastes better than it sounds. You can start with a small amount of spinach and increase the ratio as you get used to it. I love it, and I drink it whenever I get around to blending. Sometimes every day for a week; sometimes weeks go by and I don’t even remember to buy spinach. Whatever works. This drink works just as well with kale, chard, or any other greens that your CSA or favorite produce section might carry.

* It’s time to cancel my gym membership. Who am I kidding? I’m going to do yoga again, hoping for once a week — unless I go more often, which would be awesome — but I’ll believe it when I see it.

Catch my drift?

And I’m not committing to anything. These are just intentions and options–not some goals I must meet, standards I must live up to. There’s nothing wrong with goals and standards–I have some of those too that I’m quite fond of–but in this arena, they don’t do me any good, so they are not invited.

And just because self-care is a skill doesn’t mean I need to jump into “practice-makes-perfect ” mode. Instead, my motto is practice makes permanent. I’m doing this to create new habits and emotional patterns that support and encourage self-care. I dip my big toe in first, with the intention of dipping my ankle next, and trusting that someday I will sink my whole self into this and be comfortable. So next time I enjoy a hot bath, I do so knowing that there is nothing indulgent or selfish about taking the time to care for myself, one toe at at a time.

I’m Yael Saar, a mama on a mission: to liberate mothers from their Post Partum Demons, by removing guilt and shame from their parenting experience. I share coping skills and insights and host a support phone chat. I also write a monthly Love Letter for moms.  It’s a fascinating Journey, going from Postpartum depression to Joy. Will you JOYn me? Visit my blog and say “hello!”

A Simplicity Story – Sweet Daily Rhythm Chart

Apr 13, 2011   //   by Traci McGrath   //   Our Daily Rhythms, Simplicity Stories  //  2 Comments

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last weekend, the boys went away with daddy for a trip to the park and I finally got our little rhythm chart done. It was so easy (it had to be, I am not crafty.) It’s made of watercolor paper, mod-podged onto an art canvas. The little tags for each activity are also mod-podged for durability, and everything attaches with little magnets I cut up and stuck to the tree. No sewing, no measuring, no straight-edges…perfect for me!

I made this mostly for myself – to keep me on track during the day, and to eradicate some of those flaky momma moments (when I look around and there’s so much to be done, I can’t focus on any one thing.) Now I know, it’s baking morning, or gardening afternoon, laundry day, or grocery day.  And the number of magnets makes it impossible for me to over-schedule 🙂

When I showed it to P, he said, “THANK YOU for drawing pictures, Momma, now I can read it!” And he does – we go through the day each morning at breakfast and he ‘reads’ to me what we will do in order.

It would work easily on a plain board, but I am loving the image of a tree right now. A tree is a picture of life, simplicity, beauty, connection, growth, and blessing for all who see it and find rest in its shade. A perfect symbol to keep us focused on what a good daily rhythm should bring!

 

This Week’s Small Change – “Things To Do Today” Chart

Feb 28, 2011   //   by Breck Gamel   //   Our Daily Rhythms, Small Change Challenge  //  1 Comment

We just set up something new in Little Bear’s room…something we hope will help him better understand/predict his day, as well as plan out what things he needs/wants to do.  In the dollar bin at Target, we found a chart holder (like the one you can find in classrooms everywhere). 

We took it and placed small cards (1/2 index card) each labeled with a daily activity.  We placed the cards in order (left to right/up to down) and stored the the extra cards around at the bottom.

We tried to come up with ever option possible: “Wake Up!,” “Lunch,” “Playground,” “Friends House,” “Letter Boxes” (an Montessori activity).

On each card, we drew a small picture next to the word since Little Bear cannot read yet.  Fortunately, when we presented it to Little Bear his eyes got big and he replied, “I wuv it!!  I wuv it!!”  We try to read it each day and sometimes, when Little Bear is bored, I’ll go to the bored and show him what’s next.  Somehow it motivates him to do what the card says, which is fabulous.  And eventually, when he is older, we will have him set out the cards for the day depending on what he wants to do!

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