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Finding rhythm in life

Daily patterns can benefit children immeasurably

Are you a parent finding it tough to discipline effectively, get your child to eat or go to bed at night? You'll be happy to hear it likely isn't your technique that needs to be called on the carpet, but rather the simple lack of rhythm in your child's day.

Forget time-outs, sleep aids, and resorting to medication. Merely encouraging a stronger routine, one that is consistent from day to day, even hour to hour, could be all that is needed to swing the balance in your favour.

On Monday (Oct. 19) from 7:30 to 9 p.m., the Community Parenting Series offered by Cedar Valley Waldorf School presents The Significance of Rhythm in a Child's Life, the third in a series of six free sessions geared toward parents, grandparents, teachers and caregivers of children of any age.

"Slowing down and creating a rhythm helps to enable the daily activity of life to flow more smoothly, it requires less energy and becomes a platform that supports the family," said Christine Martin, principal and kindergarten teacher for Cedar Valley Waldorf School, explaining that rhythm is more than a schedule. It includes how one moves within their activities and transitions from one to the next.

Martin said that with adult lives becoming more hectic, rhythm is being squeezed out. And expecting a child to move as fast as an adult from one activity to another can be stressful for everyone.

"Rhythm brings a sense of security, confidence, and independence to a child who will in turn investigate and move more freely in their environment."

Perhaps above all else, frustrated parents will find rhythm to be a great aid to discipline.

"You'll often see in books the chapter of rhythm and discipline are together," Martin noted. "The key to discipline is creating an environment in which problem's do not arise. With rhythm you are able to create good habits, which help avoid arguments and problems."

Rhythm itself then becomes a habit, eliminating many difficulties, struggles and arguments whether they are about eating, bedtime, or washing up.

However, parents do need to be prepared to have a little discipline in their own lives.

"Keeping regular rhythms in the home life, working on your own patience and emotional responses, and being there when your child needs interaction are a few key things to keep in mind," said Martin. "For example, playing with your child first can free up an entire 20 minutes to read the paper, whereas telling him you will be there in 10 minutes can result in all kinds of emotional disasters!"

The parenting series takes place at CVWS, 38265 Westway Ave. Call 604-898-3287 or email for more info or to RSVP.