The list of traditions is endless. There are religious traditions, birthday traditions, new year’s traditions, wedding traditions, Thanksgiving traditions, and so on. Traditions have always essentially served to bring family members together. They help foster a family culture and they also strengthen family ties.
There is evidence that family traditions established between immediate family members can help give your child a sense of identity. In her book, “The Joy of Family Traditions,” Jennifer Thomson suggests that family traditions lower stress. She also argues that these children are less likely to turn to anti-social behavior such as drug abuse.
Other studies have come to similar conclusions:
• Kids raised in families with regular traditions have fewer behavioral issues than those in families with few traditions.
• Families in which traditions are common find it easier to cope with difficult moments.
• Alcoholic parents are less likely to transmit their alcoholism to their children if the family maintains rituals such as dinner and holiday practices.
10 awesome family traditions to help your family bond
1 | A “family Thanksgiving Day” ritual.
There are many ways to establish a gratitude tradition. For example, you can select a specific time (e.g., before meals) and ask each family member to name one thing for which he or she is grateful for. Another way to help you connect as a family is to establish a “Thanksgiving Day” ritual. For example, every Tuesday can be“Thankful Tuesday”, a day on which everyone writes down what they’re thankful for.
2 | Minimalism ritual.
We all acquire stuff we don’t need. Choosing one day a month or even one day a year during which each family member donates the stuff they no longer use is a great idea to reduce the clutter. Organizing a contest (or something like a 30-day minimalist challenge) to see who gives away the most stuff can be a great motivator for your kid.
3 | Morning ritual.
Adopting a morning ritual can help family members connect. Simple rituals such as hugs, kisses, snuggling, special handshakes, or specific words spoken every morning can help your family start the day right. Choose something you know you can keep up.
4 | Bedtime ritual.
Like morning routines, there are thousands of bedtime rituals to choose from. Jane Nelsen, the founder of positive discipline, proposes to ask your kids about their “saddest” and their “happiest” moments that day as you’re tucking them into bed, and then share the same information. You can replace this with anything that works for your family: When did you laugh today? When were you sad? What surprised you most today?
5 | International night.
Establishing an “international night” (or an “international day”) tradition can help teach your child about other cultures. It can also be a means through which to encourage them to participate in family activities as they need to find information about the country you’re celebrating: what’s the most common mean, how do people dress, in which continent is the country located, what’s the capital city, etc.
6 | Establishing a meal theme.
The book, “Simplicity Parenting” proposes that parents should choose one meal (pasta, rice, steak, pizza) and stick to it the same day each week. For example, Monday can be pizza night, Tuesday pasta night, Wednesday rice night, etc. The authors of the book suggest that having a certain meal on a certain night each week makes meal planning easier and also provides children with roots.
7 | Music ritual.
Establishing a music ritual is a great way to teach your kids about music from around the world. It can also be an opportunity to learn about new musicians You can borrow CDs from your local library and discover them together as a family.
8 | A read-aloud tradition.
Reading together as a family (rather than reading separately to each of your kids) is a great way to bond.
9 | Family meeting ritual.
Setting up family meetings (for instance at the start of the year) can help your family connect. You can talk about your expectations as a family, family rules to be respected, your non-negotiables, etc. Family meeting are also a means through which to give your child a voice and to practice the art of family negotiation. You can even write down everything that is agreed upon and have everyone sign it to “make it formal.”
10 | Breakfast tradition.
Picking one day of the week to do something different for breakfast – brunch, breakfast picnic, pancakes, etc. can be a great ritual to start. Weekends will work best for most people but you can choose any day of the week that suits your family.
A few things to bear in mind when establishing family traditions
• Less is more. Focus on what you can maintain on a regular basis rather than on quantity. If you find it hard to keep the traditions up, choose a monthly rather than a weekly schedule and remember it’s okay to let go if things aren’t working.
• Make sure everyone has a role to play in the events you organize
• Everyone remembers fun events fondly. Make sure traditions are fun!
• The best things in life are free! Countless ideas cost nothing.
Do you have family traditions specific to your family? Let us know in the comments section below.