A Family Rhythm For Autumn

The Dining Room / Monday, September 24th, 2018

If the roaring fire in the living room wasn’t proof enough, the dripping jackets on the hooks and the acorns and twigs scattering the pathways are the undeniable harbingers of the seasonal shift: autumn is in the air. For once our little family is ready for it. 

Summer was unusually full of adventure and outside play for us this year, subsequently reducing housekeeping to the bare skeleton of necessities in order to make room for the season’s activities. The freed time filled with playground visits, backyard bubble blowing session and generally soaking up the sun. It was a summer for the books for sure.

But now that the days shorten and we’re turning more inwards, our activities begin to change and with it our rhythm. I’ve been writing out and planning our rhythms since our little lady was three month old. Every changing season I sat down and took note of the things we wanted to do with our days in relationship to how the cornerstones of our days place themselves. Actively carving out a rhythm for our family helped me juggle the many new demands of each new season, seeking a balance between the organisation of logistics and how our souls tick.
Naturally every season’s rhythm is a little different, from their beat to the time they span. Especially as its not just spring through to winter that I regard as seasons but periods of travelling, holidays or even illnesses – for they present themselves as their own seasons with very different beats.
Sometimes it made me realise I had more time than I thought, more often though it gave me the gentle nudge to let go of some pursuits until another season. Always, it gave me clarity for our days, keeping the structure in sight in which I could climb to the tasks.

I do this not to plan every minute of every day, but to visualise the ebb and flow of our days and be able to navigate accordingly. For example for many seasons now we have a strong nap time window. Ignoring it has consequences, so our rhythms reflect that. At times it helps me to say no to invitations or to clear our schedule to say yes.

This autumn our mornings will be a bit more structured with set activities for every day. As a self-proclaimed hermit I find it hard at times to leave the house in the darker periods of the year. Planning small trips for the morning, often tied to classes or meet-ups with friends, will counterbalance that urge and nurture our 2-year olds hunger for connection and active play. However, I’ve learned by now when to say no, even to long standing commitments, when opportunities come our way or our well-being needs more rest. Which is why I consider it a rhythm and not a routine, reminding myself every day that there is an ebb and flow to all of it and sometimes the beat changes – and that’s ok!

Below is the outline of our current autumn rhythm. It should be noted that I currently stay at home with our two-year-old while our Daddy works dedicated and hard for many, quite unpredictable hours in the week. Therefore I have a lot of decision freedom over mine and the littlest lady’s time, our cornerstones are our sleeping and eating times so far as no outside commitments like school hours etc. pull in our schedule.

Our Family Autumn Rhythm

6am | Mama wakes up and spends the sacred first hour to sipping tea and writing, Dad is either already out or will wake up now too, to get ready and go.

7.30am | The Littlest Lady wakes up and the two of us get ready.

8am | Breakfast and morning chores, including packing for the day’s adventure. Currently between munching on a banana and dipping in and out of her own play kitchen, the littlest lady comes and watches Mama prepare breakfast or do the dishes.

9am-12am | Morning Adventures. Our activities wary from day to day. Some things we do every week, some are just a loose plan offering a space holder if nothing else comes up.

Mondays | Weekly Shopping

Tuesdays | Swimming

Wednesday | Playgroup

Thursday | Allotment or a walk

Friday | Trampolining

Saturday | Walk or Allotment

Sunday | Free

Note: Our morning adventures don’t always last the entire 3 hours. More often then not we’re home earlier and do free play and I tend to some chores or call family and friends for a chat. Saving such a big block gives us margin to extend the fun or feel less stressed if we don’t get out on time.

12am | Lunchtime, followed by a calming down period where the littlest lady gets to watch her current favourite tv show or we bake together.

13.30pm | Naptime. Mama works or works out: or just sits down to watch a movie because Mama-ing can be hard 🙂

15.30pm | Little lady’s free play time alongside Mama’ housekeeping tasks. More often than not she comes and helps in intervals, especially once the dinner prep is underway and she can snack on the chopped vegetables.

Note: Sometimes nap time extends past 15.30pm and that’s ok, occasionally the littlest lady wakes up beforehand and that is also ok.

17.30pm | Dad comes home and we have dinner around the dining table. If Dad works longer hours or is away, we still have dinner at the table. 

18pm | More free play for the little lady, more housekeeping for Mama.

19pm | Gathering in the living room for together time, sometimes watching another episode of her favourite show or just playing with her.

20pm | The start of our bedtime routine: bath, teeth, book, bed.

21pm | Mama and Daddy time

As the weeks move on and the weather gets darker I anticipate to replace many free play hours with simple crafts for the two of us. My collection of inspirational ideas is growing accordingly, come and have a look if you like what’s on The Craft Table.

Do you regular review the landscape of your daily and weekly routines? Do you actively forge a rhythm to nurture the complex demands of your family? Or does the ebb and flow of energy come naturally do you?

If you have any questions let me know in the comments! Or follow the links below to explore this idea more with some wonderful reads on the matter of rhythms from around the internet:

Homesong on Autumn Rhythms At Home

Homesong on Creating Daily Rhythms

Cloistered Away on Rhythms for Homeschoolers


A Note at the End: I share this because I enjoy when other families show me a peek into their lives, as it gives me often food for thought and great inspiration. However I do recognise and would therefore like to emphasise that every family is different and their rhythms are different – even when circumstances seem alike.

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