It’s a special time for our family. We are enjoying our days as a family of three and at the same time intentionally preparing for the arrival of a new baby. Things will probably change a lot in the next weeks and I am already reflecting on our Winter Rhythm.
I want to fully embrace my post-partum nurturing time and take care of myself. During the first weeks after the birth, my husband will be at home with us and he will navigate our winter rhythm. I see our winter time this year as a “hibernation”. I certainly don’t want us to do too much and get exhausted, like we were when our daughter was born in Vienna, Austria while we were actually living in Beijing, China, which set us up for swaying between two continents.
This time we made a post-partum plan and post-partum vision board and carefully and intentionally considered our family values and the needs of each member of the family.
We came up with a Winter/ “Hibernation” Rhythm for our whole family and I have “translated” it into pictures on my daughter’s weekly wheel.
Our Winter Rhythm is an even slower, more minimalistic and flexible version of our Autumn Rhythm.
My daughter will be navigating huge changes this winter, adjusting to share her parents with a sibling so we are aiming to keep as unchanged as possible the structure of her days. We are keeping our three rituals that anchor our days: our quiet time after lunch, followed by a short but mindful tea ritual. and the bedtime ritual, including reading books (some of our favorite bedtime books here and here), a little ritual of relaxation and practicing gratitude
Our days will be extremely slow and probably a bit blurry in the first days and weeks after the birth. We are planning to spend a lot of time cuddling and reading, drinking tea and resting. We will still spend a bit of time in our homeschooling space. I usually just follow my daughter’s interest and spontaneously suggest resources and things we could do (like a trip to the museum or to the library to find books) but for this winter I have prepared much more in advance as I know I will have very few time available and less spontaneity. I have prepared some cards with animals for her ( I know she usually loves learning more about animals), stocked arts and crafts materials, prepared her Advent Calendar, got ready her Winter and Christmas books and put on the shelves her favorite puzzles and games.
Inspired by Steiner Waldorf philosophy, our weekly rhythm is intentionally minimalistic. We have a day for each “activity”, linked to our family values: harmony, authenticity, creativity, beauty, love of nature, thirst of learning. We will still keep this structure in winter.
Monday is our Outdoors Day (in our garden, the Botanical Garden, the forests around..)
Tuesday is our Art Day
Wednesday is our Gym Day. We have switched classes and now attending the gym class on Wednesday mornings. My daughter loves this activity and I decided to keep it in her schedule although it will be challenging for me to juggle between the needs of a newborn and a very active little girl
Thursday is our Music Day
Friday is our Spielplatz (Playground) Day.
Saturday is the Swimming Day.
Sunday is our Family Day and we usually spend it all together.
You can read more about what we do each day here
The visual supports
We use a Monthly Wheel that we turn on the 1st of each month and place a little clothes peg and a Weekly Wheel with a picture of my daughter doing each of the “activities”: there is a picture of her painting to symbolize the Art Day, a picture of her at the gym class for the gym Day, and so on. This works wonders because she can easily relate to each of the situations. Drawings seemed too abstract to me so I never used them although I do find beautiful the Waldorf Wheels using drawings. Our wheels are bilingual (French and Romanian), painted with watercolors using the Waldorf colors and written in cursive, the Montessori way. So they are eclectic and suit our family needs. I have made them while my daughter was working on one of her paintings during an Art Day. I usually use this time to work on my own projects or handicraft something for her, like these wheels for example.
To illustrate the days we use Grimm’s 7 friends, who have the same colors as the days on our Weekly Wheel.
How does you family’s rhythm look like in winter? I would love to read your comments here or on Instagram.