Daily Rhythms: A LIFESMART Perspective
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?
This post is an updated version of an earlier post on daily rhythms. I have updated my earlier post to show how to analyze your child’s daily rhythms using the four LIFE components and four indicators for each of these components. Read the post and complete the worksheet at the end of the article. Email me at email@example.com if you want to discuss your child’s routine in terms of these elements.
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 is an important 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
• Folding clothes
• Setting the table
• Cleaning tables
• 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
• Instrumental music
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, improvise. Starting with imitation and evolving to own exploration (improvise) is the way I see the progression of learning.
Practice the imitate, repeat, memorize, improvise steps daily. This is an important component to build into the daily routine.
The words I chose are motivation, initiation, commitment, and effort. Initiation is an important indicator of interest! Not everything we learn is interesting to us. But we are likely to be motivates, initiate, commit time, and put in effort when are interested.
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), encouragement, support, and enjoyment are the words I chose for family interactions. The four words spotlight the role of parents. Ensuring safety, encouraging children in varied experiences, providing support as needed, and enjoying experiences together are the foundations of parent-child relationships.
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.
Family interactions are of particular importance for neurodivergent children and for much longer than for others because educational and other systems pose numerous challenges for them.
E: Engaging communities
The words I chose are acceptance, inclusion, expression, and co-creation. 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 expression and co-creation. 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.
Activity for Parents
Use the LIFESMART Parenting Worksheet below to analyze your child’s daily routine in terms of the four LIFE components and the four elements of each of the four LIFE components.
Based on these sixteen indicators, what changes do you think are needed in your child’s daily routine?
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!