Routines provide structure and predictability. However, life is often unpredictable. Rhythms are more flexible and fluid. What would a healthy daily rhythm look like?
Does your child have a balanced and healthy daily rhythm? What kinds of activities should be included in the day?
Discovering daily rhythms that work means the process of finding the right combination of activities for the day. For example, we start the day with long walk. Dance and/or yoga are part of Ananth’s daily routine. A list of some activities to include in the daily rhythm is given below.
Include movement daily
Include visual and performing arts
Include activities of daily living
These activities support overall development. Include them as part of your child’s daily rhythm!
Activities of daily living
Hanging up clothes
Setting the table
Making the bed
Putting things away
Watering the plants
Loading Laundry in the washing machine
Helping in sorting vegetables and grocery items and putting them at proper place
Structured movement activities
Playing a sport like – table tennis, football, badminton etc
Theater Arts activities
Movement and dance
Music and Rhythm
Arts and Crafts
Language and communication
Daily Rhythms for LIFE
I am not the first one to talk about daily routines or daily rhythms. The activities listed above are familiar too. What I can add to this discussion is the LIFESMART perspective.
L: Learn daily
Four words to start thinking about how to support daily learning: Imitate, Repeat, Memorize, Explore. Starting with imitation and evolving to own exploration is the way I see the progression.
Practice Imitate, Repeat, Memorize, Explore daily. This is an important component to build into the daily routine.
The words I chose are Initiate, Commit, Practice, and Experience. Initiation is an important indicator of interest! Not everything we learn is interesting to us. But we are likely to initiate, commit time, practice and deepen our experience when interest is there. Interests are discovered during daily learning. Encourage exploration of interests daily. However, the daily routine should include activities of high interest, medium interest, and low interest. Everything in our daily routine cannot be of high intrinsic interest.
F: Family interactions
Safety (physical and emotional), Relationships, Love and support, Expression are the words I chose for family interactions. Family interactions are of particular importance for our children and for much longer than for others because educational and other systems pose numerous challenges for them.
Family interactions are the foundation for daily rhythms. Parents discover ways to engage their child in varied activities. Parents play a key role in discovering and implementing daily rhythms.
E: Engaging communities
The words I chose are acceptance, inclusion, co-creation, and enjoyment. All four components are linked. Learning daily, discovering interests, the right types of family interactions enable our children to find the right inclusive environments for co-creation and enjoyment. Being part of such environments daily is something that is happening for us only now.
While access to the right environments for neurodivergent children and adults continues to be a challenge, I believe systems are evolving. By being proactive, we can discover the right environments, facilitate inclusion, and change the system for the better.
Every parent is a change agent. Every neurodivergent child and adult is a change agent. Change begins with discovering the right daily rhythms for yourself and for your child!