A family ritual, or tradition, is a practice within a family that has special meaning to family members. Family rituals provide a sense of belonging and continuity. They bring families closer together. It is often hard in our day and age to escape the pressures and daily stresses that make up our lives but having rituals creates an opportunity for children to feel secure. Family routines and rituals not only improve family relationships, they also improve health and emotional well being, particularly for children.
As part of of our ‘10 Ways to‘ weekly series of parenting tips, here are some ideas to help you develop family rituals and traditions for your family.
- Think simple, not extravagant. An example of a simple and easy ritual is to eat together at least once every week.
- Set aside time each week. Create a time where you and your children can be together to play.
- Create your own special activity. For weekends, birthdays or celebrations, decide with the family how you really enjoy celebrating these occasions and go with that.
- Include your children in the planning.
- Create rituals that are meaningful to the whole family.
- Be different. Don’t be afraid to start a new or different kind of family tradition.
- Celebrate success. Acknowledge achievement within the family.
- Don’t be a perfectionist. There’s no need to stress if it does not work out exactly the way you envisaged and planned. Things go wrong sometimes. A sense of bonding between the members involved is still created.
- Create a Family Event Jar. A family jar or box is a decorated jar used to save for the next big adventure. Decorate it with pictures and words of places you want to visit or have visited, or activities you enjoy. The jar becomes a daily visual reminder for all family members of something to look forward to.
- Rituals and traditions are something for all family member to enjoy together. Don’t fight your natural inclinations. You probably won’t stick with a tradition that isn’t working for all members of the family.
This ’10 Ways to’ article is by One Family’s Director of Children & Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly, as part of our weekly ’10 Ways to’ series of parenting tips. You can read the full series here.