A Family Rhythm for Summer

The Dining Room / Friday, July 5th, 2019

Although the British weather partly suggest otherwise, summer is finally here and we’re dropping our rigid spring schedule like the children their book bags on the last day of school. Because it’s not just pupils for whom these weeks between early June and late August hold a real sense of promise and freedom. Somehow when the sunlight stretches itself deep into the fringes of the day, our rhythm expands as well – opening the door for adventure and explorations.

Two particular adventures will take us fare and wide this summer, bringing with them their very own schedule and rhythm. In between we are left with a chunk of eight summery weeks in England that truly invite us to be idle for a change. More so as our favourite Englishman’s work schedule is promising to be less rigid in these two months too, gifting us unexpected free afternoons or late mornings.

Of course, with such abundance of time and options at hand there is always the danger of overloading. Subsequently I’ve been leaning into this practice of crafting our rhythm more than ever, trying to strike a balance between summer’s invitation to kick back and the multiple offerings for enjoyment: bbq, swimming, hiking, strawberry picking, beach combing…

Close up of a scrap paper splattered in pink water colouring from a small child which reads: Our Summer Rhythm; detailing the sequence of a day from 6am start to 10pm finish. In the right hand corner a weekly schedule is noted down, listing activities for each day.

In late May we cut the last ties to regular weekly commitments by cancelling our gymnastic sessions, allowing our days now to unfold in a more mellow back and forth of activities and lounging – like the lapping of small waves onto a beach.

In practical terms, while the sequence of our days might not have changed that much, we make a special effort in honouring our commitment to gentleness by keeping all arrangements wether with others or just ourselves flexible on the hour. Time becoming a less relevant measure. Because the real beauty of summer is the flexibility it can offer for our structure. Nap times for example – after almost three years still a necessity in our home – are  not as rigidly boxed by daylight hours anymore and therefore can stretch and fold as the days require. 

Likewise the individual slots of our days have multiple options pencilled in, from which we pick and choose more frequently. When in winter most morning adventures are on a weekly repeat, this season even our most cherished commitments alternate with other activities – except for ice lollies time, that shall happen every day.

Our Summer Rhythm

Distance shot of a piece of scrap paper with pink splattering stuck to a wall behind a desk. The headline reads Our Summer Rhythm. Underneath are three small plant pots with cacti and a spider plant. To the left peeks out half of a cork board with photos and paper cut outs pinned to it.

6am* / Mama wakes up and begins the day with stretches and breathing, before making the most of the fringe hour with a hot cup of tea.

7.30am / The littlest lady wakes up and we have breakfast together

After breakfast / Getting ready and dressed for the day

Once dressed / Good morning to the hens and other housekeeping tasks

10.30am / Time to head out on our morning adventure** or swing the backdoor open and get the water buckets out.

**Our summer’s mornings are a daily play of either-or. Giving us opportunities to expand our experiences and social calendar without getting swept away in a current of busyness.

Mo: Playdate or messy play at home or both
Tue: Park or a day out with the grandparents
Wed: Playgroup or allotment
Thur: Allotment or park or meet-up with friends
Fri: Craft at home or playgroup or both
Sat: Walk or museum or meet-up with friends
Sun: Family adventure or backyard time

Lunch Time / Picnics on the road or in the backyard

1.30ish pm Beginning of nap time for the littlest lady = Work time for Mama.

3.30-4.30pm Littlest lady wakes up again. 

After nap time / Weekly housekeeping tasks & free play.

6-7pm Dinner

After dinner / Park or allotment

8ish pm / Bed time for the littlest lady

After bed time / Mama and Daddy Time

10pm / Good Night to the hens

* The timings are always approximates, this season more than any others. Writing out our daily rhythm is a practice to ease my mind not the other way around. So stressing about time is what I’m trying to avoid. If I wake up late, the littlest lady sleeps longer, our morning adventure doesn’t get us home on time or we’re not hungry before  1.30pm we simply continue to go with the flow. Generally speaking we’re back into the rhythm before we even know it.

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