Last week in my Simplicity Parenting 101 class, we dove deep into an exploration of rhythm. “Rhythm Week” in my classes is always one of my favorite weeks; I could talk about rhythm forever!

In our group coaching call, we explored the difference between rhythms and routines or schedules. We came up with some key distinctions:
• Rhythms are ordered (this comes after that and before the other thing), but not rigidly time-bound i.e. we nap after lunch vs. we nap at 1:35.
• Rhythms have an element of play, joy or connection embedded in them i.e. every night before dinner we light a candle and give thanks to the farmers and Mother Earth.
• Rhythms are usually group (family/class at school) activities, whereas as routines or schedules tend to be more solitary i.e. we all take off our shoes when we come into the house vs. I like to take off my shoes and line them up by the door, you keep your shoes on and he takes his shoes off upstairs.

We also discussed how rhythm can serve as “money in the bank,” so that when life, inevitably, becomes chaotic or disordered, children have the stores of resilience and security that the regular rhythms have given them.

And, as this article describes really well, rhythms provide the content for positive family memories; when our children are in college, they will want to come home for “Sunday bagels” or “Pizza Wednesday” – and, really, isn’t that every parents humble wish?

*We will explore Rhythm – which is a great discipline tool – along with so much other good stuff in Discipline: A New Paradigm, which begins in Portland tomorrow night, Wednesday the 19th.