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January 17, 2010


Erica Breen

Okay, I really needed to hear this, my son is akin to Samuel and I to his dad. But I have a question. How does this need for structure and limits and guidance and forms relate to the need for free play in the (hopefully) peaceful home environment? When my son is spiraling outwards, it is generally at home in our tiny living room and frigid outside. I am gradually incorporating rhythms into our day, but often I lay my plans aside because I see my children deeply involved with the blocks, the dollies or the cardboard box-turned-boat. Is my formed rhythm "optional" as long as they are contentedly engaged, to be only called forth as needed? Or should I require that they help with the work after breakfast, even if they've already gotten into a game?

Thanks for the insights, and all the support and ideas you give.


This is a difficult one to answer....sometimes it is definitely important to allow the children to carry on with what they are doing - at other times one needs to say "ok,all the pussy cats need to come over here now and take their milk dishes to the sink " (if, say, they were busy being cats or something). The trick here is to try, with young children, to engage their play in the work that needs doing. So if your children are playing with cars, then they might need to be dump trucks and help empty the dish washer. And so on.

There's a fine line here - because of course some children will work out rather quickly that when they are playing they don't have to do chores! Or school work when they older! So one needs to be alert for this. As always, a good solid basic rhythm coupled with a good sense of humor helps!

Do consider joining our forum, Erica - we talk about things like this all the time and you get to share with others as well!

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