Monday, January 18, 2016

Winter Rhythm - Why We Need One and How to Create It

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I had this ideal thought of January.  As soon as January arrives, I will be back into a winter rhythm.  I will have the kids back into a school routine, and we will all be able to slow down.

I’m sure that you realize this is not what happened at all.  Instead, we dealt with sickness the first two weeks in January, our return to homeschooling has been incredibly slow, and we have been go-go-going every weekend since Thanksgiving.

I realize that having two kids in sports that have practices and games on different days throughout the week might have something to do with this.

January is becoming a month that is not slow and drawn out, instead it is moving faster than I anticipate, and all of the change that I want to take place during this month is not completed on my time line.

My word of the year is action but I don’t feel as though I have had time to put any of the intentions I have into practice.

That is where creating a winter rhythm comes in.

I realized that our day to day needs a re-boot.  The kids school schedule needs to be adjusted.  We need to have defined blocks of time for quiet time, for rest, for reading, for play, for chores.

Why am I hesitating?  Well, I want everything in order and perfect before we can put our perfect rhythm into practice, of course!

Obviously, that is not realistic.  So let us move on to plan B.

We need to have a daily rhythm, if only to give my kids an idea of “what comes next.”  And to save me from constantly answering at what time they can do x, y, and z.

I often need to remind myself that my kids are 7, 5, and 1.  This means that my rhythm needs to be fluid, and able to change.  I would love to be able to have our schedule down to the minute – I love to plan, however, in my experience, that does not work for my kids.  No matter how hard I tried getting my kids on a regular schedule, it never stuck.  So I moved towards a rhythm, but that rhythm is adjusted seasonally depending on what is going on in our home.

This winter I plan to do a whole-house purge – it is part of the “organize my life” theme I am following this year.  I want my kids to participate in this, and that causes some changes to our rhythm.

I mentioned back in August that as soon as we started school, Lucy decided she did not want to take a morning nap anymore.  It has been a daily guessing game to figure out when she will go down for a nap.  But, for the past couple of weeks she has been pretty consistent (which of course means now it will change!) with an afternoon nap most days. 

With all the busyness, and the jumbled baby nap times, plus trying to do the whole house purge while homeschooling, well you can see that we need a new rhythm.

But how can we get there?

First I had to evaluate what I am truly trying to accomplish during this season. 

When I look at all that I want to do with my kids and school, it is overwhelming, to me and to them.  There are days that my daughter most definitely does not want to do school, and wants to play all day.  Trying to find a balance between what I think she needs to accomplish while still allowing her the freedom to be seven is quite the challenge.

I can easily identify with the “school at home” crowd, with charts and desks and a school room all set up – I loved setting up my desk and “playing school” when I was young.  But, at the same time I can also identify with unschoolers, letting my kids follow their interests.  That is quite the predicament, and quite the span of educational philosophies to meld together.

When I see these homeschooling needs, along with my own desire to de-clutter and organize my house, I can see that our rhythm is going to be a little different than what is considered normal, and that is ok, because it is only a seasonal rhythm!

Once I evaluate my needs and my kids’ needs during this season I am able to make some changes in our rhythm, and understand what comes next.

My plan for this season is block scheduling, and attempting to fit our “school” time in while the baby is napping, whenever that may be.  There will be more audiobooks, and science videos.  More playing outside since we have a lot of snow, and a lot of family de-cluttering.

This week will be a lot of de-cluttering of the kitchen – it definitely needs a complete reorganization.  Also, I am going to see if the afternoon nap continues for Lucy, if it does, we may be able to dig into the rhythm I have in my head.  I also have some new to-do charts from *Erin Condren coming in the mail this week for the kids which I hope will work for our rhythm, and giving the kids an idea of what comes next in our day.  Although we don’t hold to specific times for doing activities, there is a general progression of items that the kids like to check off.

My true desire for this season is to hold on and enjoy the ride, and then to look forward to a *hopefully* quiet spring with less running around.

Do you feel a change in rhythm as the seasons change?  What are your strategies for making it through a busy season?

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  1. I am in a routine all school year long. It doesn't change from season to season except for the summer when the kids are out :)

  2. It's amazing how easy it is to get out of a routine, no matter how cemented into your daily life it is - one thing out the window and everything else is soon to follow. It's not a bad thing, it's just how life goes, and with being busy, it can get even worse!
    Your kids are lucky, though, that are you able to consider how they learn and what they need to be able to learn, the environment for it, and still have time to play and be kids while getting a great education. And having that flow is helpful for both them and you! I hope your charts serve you well!

  3. I think being able to change based on your children's needs and wants is key. That definitely appeals to me. I feel like otherwise you're just battling and that's not ideal for anyone. Sounds like a lovely Winter plan! The key here is to be open to change but loosely stick to a routine. It does change seasonally, based on the kid's activities and sports too!

  4. My sentiments exactly. I am losing motivation and finding myself wanting to procrastinate more but then other times I am on fire. I can't win.

  5. That's definitely a lot to juggle. I do think things calm down for us once January hits and we can get back to our regular schedule. Your idea of rhtyms instead of schedules is really intriguing! Hope it works out for you :)

  6. Absolutely ! I have to create a routine for each season my moods change with the season so i like everything that doesn't change :) laci

  7. Good luck!! I hope y'all settle into rhythm soon!

  8. I think it is so important to have a daily rhythm, so that everything doesn't go to slow or too fast!

  9. Yes! I think this is so important. It is so easy to get into a funk during the cold months.

  10. I always find it harder to get motivated during the winter season. However, I have been trying to get better at that lately.

  11. Life is very seasonal and with each season comes a little change. I am extra careful about noticing when the winter blues are coming.

  12. Very good thinking. Best wishes, hope you will get the full rhythm.

  13. I'm still figuring out my new rhythm now that I'm a mom. And I've only got one, so hats off to you with your three!

  14. Yes, we have a rhythm here as I have teenagers. We have a big wall calendar to help us with all of the scheduling. Fall and Spring we have it down!!!

  15. oh my I could have written part of this post - I so feel like I have to have everything in 'order' before moving forward sometimes too & I hate that! Just do it already, ya know? lol I too am doing the whole house purge & I am just taking it a room at a time - good luck ;)

  16. I like the concept of a family rhythm, and how to create/manage that over the seasons, as needs (and family ages) changes! I have yet to have children, so my husband and I have a very, very loose rhythm (if one at all), but this is a good idea to put some structure together, to encourage us to hit small goals. :)

  17. My routine is based around my kids school schedules and activities. Thankfully I've figured out how to get everything I need done while they're in school.

  18. My busy season is the spring. That's when sports are in full gear and there's always something to do. I just try to keep track of it all in the calendar and enjoy the moments of peace when I get them.

  19. My kitchen is need of some de-cluttering, as well, because of all of the holiday festivities. My daughter is only one, and her nap times are my only free moments; oh being a mother!

  20. Having a routine is very important for me. This is how I get things done effectively.

  21. Yes! I am all about routine! Without it I would be lost! Thing go smoothly when there is a plan!

  22. I think my change in rhythm for winter is that I feel more sluggish and want to 'hibernate' more. We recently got our first downpour of snow, and I seriously feel like I've been walking in a fog. I also would like to purge all of my closets out.


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