The seasons are changing which means it is time to revisit our rhythms and routines. Today I’m sharing the ins and outs of our new fall rhythm and routine with you. I hope it inspires you and encourages you on your journey to more intentional living!
It’s officially fall – my favorite time of year!
Sometime during the month of August I make a regular jaunt outdoors to sniff the air. There comes a certain day when my daily breathing in of the natural world brings with it a new smell, a little hint of the goodness that is coming.
I breathe deep on those days, find the nearest person to me and exclaim,
“Do you smell that? It’s time for three-a-days! Fall is coming!”
Now what that means is a few things…
There is a certain shift in the texture of the air that reminds me of days gone by.
Days when I would begin waking before the sun even conceived of rising, and I would shuffle my groggy-eyed self down to the gym for the first practice of the day.
Then, I’d knee-knock my way to the school cafeteria, legs wrapped with bags of ice, to retrieve my breakfast portion only to return again to the gym for another long and grueling practice.
I’d do this walk three times a day for two weeks. Then, life would ease, and I’d get to do it only twice a day!
Until eventually school would start back, and I’d be back to rising before the sun practicing for a couple of hours before classes started.
So goes the life of an athlete.
That shift in the air happens around mid- August, and I still get excited to this day. I may not have to hit the gym three times a day anymore, but I can still sense the shift in weather that says fall is coming.
And fall, to me, means activity, togetherness, and cooler weather!
It means cozy meals and hoodies.
It means rustling leaves and apple picking.
And yes, it means sports. I like that, too.
Fall also means a reset of priorities, rhythms, and routines.
Gone are the lazy days of summer, and in her place comes the bustling fall routines that give structure and purpose to our days.
Here are the days of leaning in and striving forward in our work and goals, while still pulling back and lingering a little longer around the moments we don’t yet want to end.
Summer was for learning new skills, trying new things, and skipping a chore or two when we wanted.
Fall is for applying the skills we learned, disciplining ourselves to steward God’s gifts well, and choosing relationships when we’re tempted to let our to-do list lead the way.
As Christians, we are meant to be fruitful. We are made to work and create and produce!
Work is good.
But work that causes our lives to spiral into burn out because we’re trying to do too many things without regard to our season, is not good.
The changing of seasons is a great time to:
- Check-in with your spiritual life,
- To review your goals,
- To evaluate the work you’ve been doing and consider if it’s good work, right work, God-honoring work.
If you have the Made to Give Life Planner, then you were prompted to sit down and do a quick evaluation of your days in your Fall Check-In pages. If you don’t have the Made to Give Life Planner, then you can learn more about it here.
You don’t have to do all the things, all the time, in every season. As a matter of fact, you’re not meant to live that way.
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”-Ecclesiastes 3:1
But you have to know what is for this season and what isn’t.
Before the start of any new season, I walk through this planning process.
I have found that it is always a refreshing time, and I always walk out of my seasonal planning sessions with a renewed perspective and fresh hope. Who doesn’t want more of that, am I right?
One of the main things I do during my seasonal planning times is create some master lists.
Seasonal Master Lists are the think once, enjoy all season long sort of plans.
I’ve already shared my Fall Meal Ideas List with you last week.
As I was doing my seasonal check-in, I realized that lunch was a sticking point for us right now (growing boys!). You’ll see in that post how I brainstormed some ways to make lunchtime easier.
This is what makes seasonal planning so effective. I can stop and think about every area of my life, and make a plan for those areas that need improvement, tweaking, etc.
Here some more of my master fall lists for this year:
I created master fall lists in Canva, which is totally free. I do have the business account because of my work, so I have a few more options for clipart, but overall, you can easily make these for yourself.
I don’t have these lists as a downloadable because there is no easy way to make it into a generic template since they are unique to our family. You’re welcome to use whatever ideas you find here to fit your needs though.
I like to create these fun printables to hang on our refrigerator, so my children can see everything easily!
Today I want to share with you our fall rhythm and routine.
Having an outlined rhythm and routine for our day helps us to be faithful and move peacefully throughout our days. Everyone knows what to expect, and I know that the most important things have a place in our day.
I like to revamp our rhythm and routine seasonally because each season brings with it different activities and needs. This daily rhythm takes into consideration our priorities for this season, and it creates space for us to do in each day what we feel is most important.
Of course, we don’t perfectly adhere to this rhythm every day, but here is the general flow for our days.
Our Fall Rhythm & Routine
Wake-Up Time is 7:30 am
We’ve found that waking our kids by 7:30 each morning means they keep a consistent night time routine. Plus it gives us plenty of time do go through our morning routine in order to start school by 9am.
Upon waking, they get dressed and make their beds.
- My ten year old takes care of the dog (walking, feeding, etc.).
- My eight year old usually makes his baby brother’s breakfast and starts feeding him.
- My five year old unloads the dishwasher and sets the table.
I usually spend the early morning hours in my little sunroom office reading and slowly preparing for the day.
Breakfast – 8 am
We aim to have breakfast on the table by 8 am, so we have plenty of time to eat and do family devotions together.
Right now, we’re working through Our 24 Family Ways by Clay Clarkson.
After Breakfast is Home Care
Once we wrap up breakfast, it’s time to clean up and finish our morning checklists.
Everyone helps clear the dishes, wipe the table, sweep the floor, and reset the kitchen before moving on to their individual checklist items.
Each child has his or her own checklist to guide them through the rest of the morning, and to be honest, mine is nearly the same. Only difference is I have to think about dinner.
For the most part, our morning checklists have been the same for several years. However, I did make some tweaks this fall to help us overcome some sticking points.
I added the reminder for my little girl to brush her hair, and I added vitamins and water bottles to everyone’s checklist in order to help me to remember as well!
Learning Time – 9 am
We aim to “start school” by 9 am.
This means all the kids’ morning checklists need to be completed by this point, so the older boys can get started on their independent school work.
By this point, little brother is usually ready for his morning nap, my little girl needs her hair brushed and fixed for the day (keeping hair out of little girls’ eyes is a full-time job!), and I’m nearly done with my morning checklist.
One-On-One Work Time With Each Child – Starts at 9:30 am
Usually by 9:30 am, I’m ready to start kindergarten work with my little girl.
From this point on, I’m working as efficiently as I can with the three school-aged children while the baby takes his morning nap. I spend about 30-45 minutes with each child on their work before we wrap up school by 12:15 pm.
Lunch Time – 12:30 pm
If we finish early, the kids get free time until lunch. Some days this could be an hour, other days it’s only about 15 minutes.
But by this point the baby is usually awake, so it’s all hands on deck for me with him. Once I nurse him though, a big kid usually takes him so I can have 15 minutes to myself before the lunch rush.
I’ve found that fixing my lunch first, and knocking the edge off makes for a much smoother lunch for everyone. At 12:30 pm, the kids come into the kitchen to make their own lunches.
R & R Time – 1 pm (or when the baby naps)
After lunch is rest time.
Regardless of when it starts, it lasts for two hours and everyone must stay in their designated spots reading/playing quietly. Most of the time though, R&R is over around 3pm.
R&R stands for rest and read time. The older two read their assigned books for an hour, and then they have the second hour to use however they want. My kindergartener just plays quietly during this time.
As for me, I use the first hour to workout and rest. The last hour I use for getting started on my blog work for the day or homeschool co-op work.
Free Time – 3 pm
Usually by 3-3:30 pm R & R is over and the baby is waking from his afternoon nap. I nurse him, and a big kid takes him to play outside with them. I continue working until about 4 pm before I transition to prepping dinner.
Ninety percent of the time the kids play outside during any free time they have. They play until we call them in to take their showers before dinner, which is usually around 5:15 – 5:30pm in the fall.
Dinner – 6:00 pm
We aim to have dinner around 6pm, and after that we spend time as a family.
It’s also the grouchy baby time, so we’re bathing him and getting him ready for bed right after dinner. We try to put him down around 7-7:30 pm.
Afterward, we hang out with the big kids before they go to bed at 8 pm.
Lights Out – 8:30 pm on school nights & 9 pm on weekends
The big kids go to bed at 8 pm. They can read until lights out.
For the most part this is how our days flow when we have full days at home.
If we’re out of the house for any reason, we just pick up the routine wherever we are when we return.
- We have homeschool co-op one day a week. When we return home, we go right into R&R time for everyone. Afterward, the kids are free to play however they want, but first they read and rest.
- Right now we have one child doing soccer a couple of evenings a week. This interrupts our rhythm in the evenings, but again, we just pick up the rhythm wherever that may be when they return home for the night.
Overall, having a rhythm and routine to our days sets clear expectations for everyone involved. No one is constantly guessing, or wondering what’s coming next. I don’t get asked a million times for something they know isn’t part of our priorities right now (aka, tech time), and I don’t have to direct the children all day long in what’s next.
Having some key items added to their morning checklists, means we’re not searching for water bottles in the middle of a spelling test when thirst inevitably sets in, and by the time the afternoon arrives everyone knows that rest is non-negotiable.
Starting a new routine isn’t easy. There is always a learning curve, and time must be allowed for your body to adjust, but once you get into the flow, it’s like second nature to keep moving through your day in faithfulness.
What about you? Do follow a rhythm and routine each day?
If you want to learn more about seasonal planning, and why I find this style of planning so helpful, then checkout this post.
There is also a podcast episode included to give you even more information and help you start living intentionally all year long (not just at the new year!).