Parenting | Establishing family rituals

rope-1469244_1920A 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.

  1. Think simple, not extravagant. An example of a simple and easy ritual is to eat together at least once every week.
  2. Set aside time each week. Create a time where you and your children can be together to play.
  3. 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.
  4. Include your children in the planning.
  5. Create rituals that are meaningful to the whole family.
  6. Be different. Don’t be afraid to start a new or different kind of family tradition.
  7. Celebrate success. Acknowledge achievement within the family.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

Find out more about our parenting skills programmes and parent supports. For support and information on these or any related topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or on 01 662 9212.


New Viral Video Asks Do All Families Matter in Ireland?

Press Release

New Viral Video Asks

Do All Families Matter in Ireland?

(Dublin, 14 May 2014) Eight national organisations interested in promoting equality for all families have released an innovative video that shows how the Constitution of Ireland excludes many types of families. All Families Matter is a campaigning coalition that would like to change the Constitution so that all types of families can be respected.

Tomorrow, 15 May, is UN International Day of Families and this year we also celebrate the 20th anniversary of UN International Year of the Family so it is timely to think about what family means.

This two minute video presents a series of everyday situations in which three ordinary families are told they are ‘not a real family’ because only one kind of family, the marital family, is represented in our Constitution. A quirky, fun and enjoyable video, it explores scenarios featuring a one-parent family, parents who are not married to each other, and same-sex parents to illustrate how the wording of our Constitution is so clearly out of line with the reality of the lives of hundreds of thousands of families in Ireland.

The members of All Families Matter include One Family, Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL), Barnardos, the Family Resource Centre National Forum, Marriage Equality, New Communities Partnership (NCP), Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) and Treoir. They came together over a shared belief that a Constitutional review of how family is defined is required so that all families feel protected and recognised.

We all know and care about families like those represented in the video. All Families Matter calls on everyone to watch and share the video and to ask themselves, what really makes a family and isn’t it time the Irish Constitution reflected the lived reality of our families?

The video can be viewed here.

On Sunday 18 May, founding All Families Matter member organisation One Family hosts its annual free Family Day Festival in the Iveagh Gardens, Dublin 2 from 11am-5pm. Many of the All Families Matter members will be in attendance at the event and available to share information about it and their work. Further information on


Further Information

Facebook: @AllFamiliesMatterIreland | #AllFamiliesMatter

Twitter: @FamiliesIreland | #AllFamiliesMatter

Available for Interview

  • One Family CEO Karen Kiernan | t: 086 850 9191

For Video Files or Further Information

Shirley Chance, Director of Communications, One Family | t: 01 662 9212 or 087 414 8511 | e:




One Family Welcomes 2014 as the 20th Anniversary of the UN Year of the Family

2014 is the 20th anniversary of the United Nations International Year of the Family. One Family has been working to mark this anniversary and marks the UN International Day of the Family every year here in Ireland.

One Family has signed up to the Declaration of the Civil Society on the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of the International Year of the Family.

We have developed links in relation to this anniversary and attended the Doha International Institute for Family Studies and Development (DIIFSD), The International Federation for Family Development (IFFD) and the Committee of the Regions of the European Union in cooperation with the Focal Point on the Family (UNDESA) European Expert Group Meeting ‘Confronting family poverty and social exclusion; ensuring work-family balance; advancing social integration and intergenerational solidarity’ as preparations for and observance of the twentieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family in 2014, in Europe.

We also founded a campaigning coalition called All Families Matter and we are seeking a progressive review of the Constitution in relation to the family.

Proposed activities to mark 2014 as the 20th Anniversary of the UN International Year of the Family

We are calling on the Government to designate a national Family Day.

15 May is the annual UN International Day of the Family and One Family requests that Minister Fitzgerald designates the nearest Sunday as a national Family Day in Ireland. In much the same way as we mark Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, we would like Family Day to also be celebrated. Our annual Family Day Festival will be held on 18 May 2014 again in the Iveagh Gardens and we will be again promoting our call to ‘Celebrate your family – Celebrate all families’ through all the schools, community and voluntary groups in Ireland.

We believe that this cost-neutral designation will send a powerful message to all families that this country respects and celebrates the reality of their lives through this national Family Day.

We are seeking support to hold a seminar to mark a number of significant reforms in relation to family life in Ireland. In a relatively short space of time the legal and social landscape in relation to families will change. Reforms that we are aware of include:

–         The establishment of the Child & Family Agency

–         Reform of the Family Law Courts

–         Introduction of the Child & Family Relationships Bill

–         Commitment to a referendum on marriage equality in 2015

–         Social welfare reforms impacting on childcare, parenting responsibilities and family life.

2014 may provide an opportune time to reflect on these changes and to work towards a Constitutional reform of the definition of family which will inevitably be required at some stage. A conference or seminar will provide a forum for people to learn more about reforms and to look forward to a new vision of how our laws and policies can reflect the reality of the diversity of family life in Ireland today.

One Family also plans to highlight the year with a number of other smaller events which will be kicked off by a radio documentary on the founding of our organisation over 40 years ago which will be aired at 9am on Sunday 29 December on Today FM.

Convention on the Constitution Announces Topics for Review

The Convention on the Constitution has just announced that it has chosen Dáil Reform and Economic, Social and Cultural rights for discussion at their final two meetings in February 2014. It is noted that the Family is included as one of the other prominent topics throughout the process and that “it is likely that the Convention members will take the opportunity to make a recommendation early next year on how these issues might be addressed in the future.”

While we are disappointed at today’s announcement, we look forward to engaging with the Convention in the future.

You can read the Convention press release here.

For further information on the campaign All Families Matter, which calls for a review of the Family in our Constitution, click here.

Time for Constitutional Review of the Family

“The Constitution that governs our country was published back in 1937 and Irish family and social life has changed radically since then. Unfortunately the Constitution has not changed in tandem with this and is now woefully out-of-step with the reality of life for many children and families in Ireland because it doesn’t recognise them as families,” writes One Family’s CEO Karen Kiernan in today’s

Karen discusses All Families Matter, the campaigning coalition calling for a review of the Family in our Constitution, and outlines the reasons a Constitutional review of the family is needed.  Anyone can make an online submission to the Convention this week. Members of the Convention will decide by online poll within the next week what new areas they will look at in February at their final scheduled meeting. It is still possible to lobby political members, make online submissions or attend the last regional meeting today, Wednesday 27 November,  in Limerick to ask them to review the family.

Read the column in here.

Click here to find out more about All Families Matter and how to make an online submission.