relationships with others don’t thrive on routine or structure.
I respectfully submit that you are 180 degrees off course with this conclusion.
Routine and structure, for the very young, are the constants in daily life. They provide the eventualities and ways of passing through them which need not be re-invented on each occasion.
Far from merely confining children’s activities, they simply re-direct them into things that they are more interested in than composing their own code of law just to get through a day. Your routines for them, which they need not invent themselves, are their first exposure to rule of law and to civility within it.
And if it is community you wish to impart to your younguns, why not recognize that the routines you provide and administer for them are themselves the first exercise in equal status among their neighbors they ever experience in their lives? They are learning (even while you are bored with routines and longing to toss them, and what grownup among kids isn’t?) that in the constancy of expectation lies a commonality of status. No one child is of greater or lesser value, than any other, because all are subject to the same routines. It is the one whole and constant quantity that belongs in equal measure, to each. And within it, each is utterly free to be the individuals they all are, as each has only to follow the rules which all must follow.
And as a side note, I daresay you could cancel all vestige of routine for one full day as an experiment. If you aren’t ready to re-enact every last rule and structure by mid-morning, as a means of restoring your sanity, and protecting society from a mob of leaderless juveniles joyfully intent on conquering the world by any means discovered? Then maybe I’m wrong here, but I doubt it…