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Monday, August 22, 2011

A Kids Day: A Simple Way to a Simpler Day

Last year I was looking for ways to simplify my daily life with my daughter but didn't know where to start. One morning my daughter's preschool (Atlanta Progressive Preschool) had a parent coffee and the director mentioned the book "Simplicity Parenting" by Kim John Payne during the discussion. I read it and found it was full of inspiring reasons to simplify my life as well as useful and practical ideas for how to simplify, from finances to food. So of course I found the website and facebook page too. Unfotunately I was having a tough time keeping my days in a simple rhythm...my bad habits had me running poorly planned errands; I wanted to change, but kept getting distracted. Then I came across Traci McGrath's Daily Rhythm Charts.

Daily Rhythm Tree Chart

I fell instantly in love with their beauty, simplicity and ease of use. Over the past year Traci and I have developed one of those unique-to-social-media relationships through our mutual interest in helping children behave better by first helping them feel better. She explains on her website A Kids Day "When my first child was three, I saw firsthand the importance of establishing a strong, predictable daily rhythm. A regular routine can work wonders - behavior is improved, stress is reduced, learning is increased." She also admits that she "needed some visual reminder to keep me in a routine." Phew! I wasn't the only one!

Magnets for the Tree chart; pictures help children "read" the activity

Having a strong daily rhythm is infinitely important in our lives, especially for young children. It allows us to  get things done on time, have less anxiety, and can even help us keep our lives simple. This daily rhythm may look different for different families; some may be more structured than others, and the number of activities a family chooses for their lives vary. But ultimately children thrive when they know "what's coming next."

Ladybug Rhythm Chart

Implementing a daily rhythm can reduce stress and improve behavior by meeting a child's underlying need for predictability. It also gives us as parents the opportunity to model treating people with dignity and respect. When we involve our children in  reviewing or planning the daily routine we show them how much we value them as individuals. Of course we can't always let them plan each activity (maybe we'd be at the creek all day or playing in a glowing bath...our cupboards might stay empty!), but our children will give us gentle, beautiful reminders to slow down and remember the important role of play in everyone's life.

Night Rhythm Owl Chart

The school year is beginning for many families, whether they are in public school, private school, or homeschool, and life can feel very full and chaotic for parents and children alike (and for those of you that unschool, this may feel true all year round). It's easy for family time to diminish in the flow of activities, and sometimes we need some help slowing down for ourselves and for our children. Traci's charts have been a simple and beautiful daily reminder for me and Addi to slow down and prioritize...and of course the ever-important planning as well!

Traci McGrath creates the rhythm charts at A Kid's Day and writes a blog Educated For Love. She has two boys, ages 4 and 1, who love digging in the dirt, collecting bugs, making up games and stories, and playing music; together as a family they love being outside and camping. I hope you'll check out her work and I know you'll enjoy it as much as I have!

Everything good,

A Kids Day: http://www.akidsday.com/
Simplicity Parenting, by Kim John Payne
website: http://www.simplicityparenting.com/


  1. Hi there..your blog is very inspired for stay at home mum like me..keep it up for a very good entries and activities..

    ~mum from Belgium~

  2. these are beautiful! and such a nice idea. we recently made some pictures on disks of wood for a similar project, and it not only brings comfort to my son, but me, as well :)


  3. Thanks for sharing. Loved your blog. And good luck for Best craft blog nomination.

  4. This is lovely. It has taken me three years and two children to find more of a "rhythm" to our day. My second child thrives on schedules and rhythm, which has really helped me. It makes us all feel better when things are consistent but flexible too.


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