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traditionsI’ve talked before about the importance of rituals.  Families thrive on the little things that add to their unique identity. Here are some suggestions to get you started. 

  • Take a walk after dinner.  This is an example of an easy, quick daily ritual.  Good for family togetherness… and good for the waistline!
  • Go to the same beach/lake/mountains every summer.  Family vacations are a terrific way to build shared positive experiences. 
  • Bedtime rituals.  Bedtime is the perfect time to build in ritual.  Here are a few of my favorites:
    • Bedtime stories.  Read to your kids from birth. 
    • Special lullaby.  Choose a different song to serve as a lullaby for each child.  My kids made me sing these well into their teens and still sometimes sing them to me now.
  • Family Table Topics.  Your family needs to be eating together.  Period.  Family table topics are a great way to add communication to the dinner hour.
  • Celebrate school with start and end of year rituals.  Find special ways to commemorate these transitions.  Here’s some help to get you started.
  • Take the family Christmas photo in the same spot every year.  Over time you will come to treasure this record of how your family changes and grows.
  • Family Movie Night.  Whether it is a weekly or bi-weekly event, make sure to include popcorn and take turns picking the flick!
  • Family Date Night.  It’s important for mom and dad to get out alone.  But, sometimes it is just as important for you all to get out together.  A monthly family date is a great way to add some fun and anticipation to your life together.
  • Saturday morning pancakes.  Or waffles.  Or eggs benedict.  The choice is yours – but stick with it.  The point is  the same special treat for breakfast every weekend..
  • Family game night.  Break out the Uno cards or the Monopoly board.  Make some yummy snacks and try not to get too competitive.  This is a tradition that can last even as your children become adults.
  • Birthday Rituals.  It is important to make a big deal out of our family members’ special days.  Establish some birthday traditions that will do just that:
    • Birthday dinner.  Let the birthday boy or girl choose anything they want for dinner on their special day.  Yes, that means you may end up with a very unbalanced meal – that’s ok.
    • Birthday breakfast in bed.  Wake them up with a special breakfast served on a tray.  Include a card or small gift to start the day right.
  • Family appreciation day.  This was a favorite when my kids were at home.  Once a month I would choose a different family member to celebrate.  The announcement was made a breakfast.  During the day everyone would write encouraging notes for the celebrant. We would eat their favorite foods for dinner and take turns reading our notes to them.  They would also be exempt from chores for the day.
  • Mom’s Off Mondays.  Let the kids take over the kitchen on Mondays.  Kids learn how to cook and get the pleasure of taking care of mom for a change.  And, mom gets a break!
  • Sickday tea and toast.  No one likes to be sick.  Make it a little easier by establishing some comforting rituals.  Tea and toast or chicken soup are good for starters.

Have fun coming up with your own.  And, drop me a line – I’d love to hear about your special rituals!

  Oh, and here’s a link to those Family Table Topics I mentioned earlier:

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