I am not sure why we wait for a new calendar year to start new diets, habits and routines. Now is as good a time as any to start some new family traditions!
Family traditions help build a strong feeling of connectedness. Here are four of my favorites family traditions:
1. Date Day with the Kids
Whether you have one child or a dozen – children crave one-on-one attention from their parents. I love the idea of taking children out for alone time.
Even if you spend lots of time with your children – devoting a special time and naming it (e.g. mommy and me time etc.) can make that one-on-one time feel special.
Date days can be as simple as you want them to be. The key is to make a new tradition practical – so it is easy to maintain and keep for years to come.
My husband and I devote one weekend day a month to take our children out individually. Each child is taken out for about an hour or two by one parent. We rotate which child goes with which parent. The kids love it and constantly ask when the next date will be.
2. Dinner Conversation Starters
With all the hustle and bustle of our hectic schedules – dinner might be the only time your family is actually all together! Make mealtime count. I know I feel like I spend more time preparing a meal than it takes for everyone to eat it. Slow the family down by coming up with dinner conversation routines.
A simple dinner routine might be taking turns giving the high and low of each person’s day. Doing this on a regular basis can give you much insight into what is going on in each other’s lives.
I also recommend that parents pipe in with their high and low for the day – without burdening your children with too many stressful details. This helps kids realize that parents also have daily successes and challenges – and may provide a talking point on how to handle those difficulties.
For more formal dinner traditions – you can make a jar of dinner questions. These questions can be thought provoking or silly. Often these type of questions stimulate further discussion and get you to understand each other on a deeper level. For some dinner question ideas you can click here.
3. Birthday Letter
I might be too sentimental, but I love the idea of narrating a child’s life, personality and development each year. One way to do this is to write a letter to your child every birthday. Can you imagine what a gift it would be to present your adult child with eighteen years of love letters highlighting the best of their childhood?
4. Family Code Word For Safety Concerns
Okay, this last suggestion might be the downer of the bunch – but it is probably the most important tip – so bare with me. Develop a code word with older children (7+ years old) that indicates when your child is feeling unsafe or uncomfortable.
This code word can be used when they are at a friend’s house or in a situation that they want to get out of, but can’t talk freely in. My family has developed a question, as we felt it would sound more natural in a conversation. Hopefully no one will have to use it, but at least we are prepared.
I hope this has generated some thought or excitement around developing family traditions. Time goes by so fast – and before you know it your children will be making traditions with their own family. Make the time you have left memorable!
What family traditions do you have at home? Let’s get a great list going in the comment section below!
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