I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out what kind of daily rhythm can be had with an unscheduled baby who has ever-changing needs. For R’s first few months of life we didn’t have any kind of rhythm at all. It was all sleeping and eating and sleeping and eating for both of us, which is such a healthy and rejuvenating way to spend the fourth trimester: no expectations, no to-do lists, no deadlines. But sometime after the 3rd month, I started to crave a solid rhythm, something other than the fluid, undefined nature of our days that had been our life up to that point.
One of the main reasons for developing a rhythm is important is because it fosters a sense of comfort and loose predictability, which is most important for little ones who have no actual control over their environment. If we can design a flow to our days and stick with the basic order of events with consistency, our kids can know what to expect. Making their days easier to understand is a huge and beautiful gift we can give to them.
I know that the mere thought of creating a rhythm can feel burdensome, or even impossible with a baby. It doesn’t have to be either of these things. Do like me and make it simple by just focusing on the end-caps of a day, because those are the most important to define.
What I mean is create a morning and evening ritual that feels good and you’ll want to stick to long-term, and then let the rest of the day be freeform. This is what I do for R and I, with a nice lunch as a midday anchor. Other than these things, I let our days unfold organically, but there’s still that loose structure in place that gives our days a rhythmical flow.
Let me give you a kind of timeline so you can see what I mean:
6:30 Wake up and make coffee.
7:00 Go out for a five-mile walk.
9:00 Get back home and put R down for a nap.
1:00 Eat lunch.
7:00 Bath time, massage, and put R to bed.
You can see we have definite and obvious rituals for mornings and nights, and no matter how lazy I’m feeling, I stick to these things. It’s for both of us, really, because habits are good for everyone, but ultimately I want R to be able to relax into our rhythm and that won’t happen if I change things up all the time. Predictability is the whole point of rituals and rhythms.
Take what I’ve written here and use it as a template. There are a billion different variations and what you come up with will be unique to you and meet the needs, ages, and stages of your family. While I’ve got a good daily rhythm in place right now, it will change and look different as R gets older. I’ll always keep the walks, but they just might happen at different times. In a few years, her bedtime routine might start a little later. And when Chris’s schedule changes, we’ll have a set time for dinner again.
To end, I want you to know that just being with your baby is enough. While rituals and rhythms are important pieces in creating a relaxed atmosphere, it’s secondary to the love and attention you’re giving to your little one. So, as long as you already have the love and attention part covered, you’re good. The other stuff is all icing.
Also, if you’re super interested in home rhythms, then you might wanna check out Lavendar’s Blue Homeschool, because they have an excellent free guide I’ll link to below.
Download: Lavendar’s Blue Rhythm Quick Start Guide
Let me know if you try any of this, k? I really want to hear how it goes, and what special twist you put on it :)