Finding our Family Rhythm

Hello friends! It's been a little bit since I've posted a real blog post and I hope everyone is enjoying the fall weather and foliage.

The last few weeks have been a little rough over here.  Transitioning into preschool has been a lot for all of us. Probably in part to how close we've kept Judah up until now. We've never left him with someone who wasn't family (or pretty close.) He has enjoyed a few sleepovers with grandparents but we are always very mindful of the timing and preparation. Judah is doing amazing at school, it just seems to take a lot out of him. He has been over tired and easily upset ever since starting. I also want to add how wonderful his preschool is; its a Waldorf based natural preschool staffed by warm and loving professionals.

I determined that a few things were causing our home to feel chaotic over the passed few weeks. The first two issues being the preschool transition that has caused a sleep regression. Judah has been waking up most nights and coming in bed with us (Maple also bedshares). We are always happy to have Judah come in for a snuggle but with the frequency, none of us were getting very good sleep. So with exhausted parents, unable to connect in the evening, we were also bickering. Another factor, the inconsistency between the days of the week. Each day is different due to the Tuesday/Thursday school schedule.

So last week, I yawned through my therapy session but was able to come up with a few ways to get this train back on the track! I was excited to share the ideas with Josh and we implemented them the next morning. And I wanted to share our ideas with you in case anyone else could use a little refresh.

The first thing that I did was to sit down and layout our daily rhythm. I'll let you in on a little secret: Rhythm is just a rebranded word for routine. But doesn't it sound so much cozier? I made a visual schedule of the week with pictures of each day's activity so that the kids could also reference it. If you don't feel like drawing, you could print out stock photos from google images. Since our days are different due to school and work, I made it as cohesive as possible and I have been making an effort to sing little songs to help the kids transition from one thing to the next.

As a family, we sat down to reestablish the rules. Somehow, our old rules were ripped up... We tried to only list what they can/should do instead of what not to do. For example: Be Kind, Use first time listening, Have a gentle body, Use inside voices, Throw only balls outside etc. This helps to remind of what they can do rather than inspire them on what not to do. And we do little visuals so that it makes sense to them. In the past, we've made a game of reciting the rules with Judah and it's really helped him stay on track. So we will be implementing that again as well. We're still using our Rainbow Berry Jars, too!

The main thing that I've been doing that I think is also helping the most is our Morning Ritual. Each morning, I cuddle Judah while Maple is bopping around.  We start by talking about what day it is and what our plan is for the day whether it be school or a trip to the park. We talk about how Judah is feeling and a goal or something we're excited about for the day.  I rub an essential oil blend on his feet or neck called Chill Pill. We end with a yoga pose. He likes to get creative and make up his own poses which usually have to do with poop or butts, but he does some nice breathing so I'm okay with it. Gotta pick those battles!

I know that our morning ritual has made an impact on Judah, because his teacher was excited to tell me that he proudly raised his hand during circle time to share about the morning ritual that he does with his mom. And that he has chill pill on his feet. She made sure to mention that he's been a lot more calm in school, too.

You can create your own unique ritual based on whatever your kiddo might be struggling with or what you might like to improve.

I've been trying to incorporate more sensory activities to help ground the kiddos during this transitional time. Even Play Doh can be calming for little ones. We like to use water beads, make our own Play Doh, play with trucks in rice, drink tea or even just do puzzles. Let me know in the comments if you want me to do a whole post on sensory based activities!

I've also been making an effort to just be more intentional. Helping my children to notice the sound of leaves crunching or the colors of the leaves changing. It helps to slow them down quite a bit.

Be sure to follow me on instagram @jennyradish I'll be sharing some of my favorite accounts to help inspire your own family rhythm!

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