Words of Waldorf Wisdom
Rhythm In Our Daily Life
We are surrounded by the rhythms of the natural world while observing the alternation of day and night, phases of the moon, plants growing and dying, and the cycles of the seasons. Our bodies are permeated by rhythms of our heart’s circulation, breathing, digestion.
A rhythmic lifestyle offers a stable environment to the children and strengthens their life forces. Since this does not always happen as a matter of course anymore, children rely on us to establish predictable rhythms in their lives. Children need rhythm for their physical and emotional health to develop harmoniously. Children cannot set and maintain rhythm for themselves. They need a strong presence from the adult to do this since their own “ego” is not yet “the master of their house”.
In the Kindergarten the teacher takes the responsibility for arranging:
The rhythm of the day, the week, the year.
The rhythms of in-breath and out-breath in daily structured and unstructured activities as a gesture of contraction and expansion in the course of the year.
At home, parents and caregivers set the tone for structuring family life, with times and routines for:
Getting up in the morning and going to bed at the end of the day.
Creating rituals at meals and bath time in the evening.
Setting values of “how things are done in our family”.
Planning the time to work, help, play and rest.
Celebrating family special events, birthdays and festivals.
Rhythm allows children to feel that all is well in the world, to feel safe to open up and unfold. Rhythm in home life can help to calm nervousness and anxiety, providing the child with a sense of security and competency. Regular mealtimes, naps and bedtimes start orienting the child to a natural feeling for the passing time. Rhythm is also very helpful to the parents, because it enables the daily activity of life to flow smoothly, requires less energy and supports family activities and interactions.
For the children, every gesture is deeply observed and absorbed through their senses. Care and love can enter all that we do. The children became nourished and strengthened in their physical, emotional, cognitive and social development. The rhythmic structure introduced to the children and surrounded with the parent’s love becomes a discipline in the most positive sense. As the children become older, they will transform this outer experience into an inner self-discipline.