Written by Caroline Casetti from The Humble Haven
As a child, you participated in many activities that, although you may not have realized it then, were family traditions. Some traditions are created with the sole purpose of being repeated weekly, monthly or maybe even annually. Other traditions are created unconsciously. Waking up every morning at 7: 05 for a bowl of cereal and fresh fruit was not an event that happened in everyone’s home. No doubt there were other families on your block awake and eating breakfast, but the personal spin that you placed on these activities made them unique to your household. This is the case with many day-to-day actions. This is because these practices have been repeated over time, almost becoming second nature.
Go ahead, it’s okay to get nostalgic. Think back to those memorable points in your life where you and your family were spending time together. How old were you? Did you enjoy your family’s company at the time? Spending moments with family is often filled with traditions. You choose which ones to pass onto your children and continue to participate in for generations to come.
Some of my favorite traditions during my childhood consisted of things as simple as a bedtime story. My father would tell me elaborate stories about a little kitten, but each night the kitten had a different problem, and always had to find solutions. It was only when I began getting older that I realized the little kitten stories were about someone directly related to him, or me, and the solutions were in fact life lessons. When he would get sleepy or began running out of ideas he would read a book to me or ask my mother to read me one of my favorite stories. I eventually got old enough to read my own stories and didn’t require my parents’ help, but the time spent going through this ritual with them was valuable. The act of reading and engaging with your child has been found to help accelerate their reading skills, and drastically improve their communication abilities even from a young age.
Kids are fans of routines. When you create a family routine such as a set dinner time and bedtime, you are instilling discipline and creating a pattern that they can follow over time. This will eventually become a habit that they will not stray from unless you decide to change things up. Your children may decide to use the same tradition in their adulthood with their own family. Make a tradition of activities such as:
· Eating breakfast
· Preparing dinner
· Setting a specific bedtime
· Creating a family TV time
· Completing chores together
Deciding on a Christmas present can take some time because the choices are nearly infinite. There is just about as much variation in holiday traditions as there are in gifts. My grandmother collected unique Christmas ornaments from all over the world and would even make her own sometimes. I was given the privilege and responsibility of helping her hang ornaments on the tree. This was something I looked forward to each year around Christmas. She would open up boxes of carefully wrapped ornaments and we would decide which ones should adorn the tree that year. Thanks to all those times spent with her, I learned to make my own ornaments and I created them with my children. When it comes to Christmas traditions, try:
· Cooking holiday dinner together
· Creating homemade ornaments
· Picking out Christmas decorations together
· Trimming the tree
· Taking family photos
· Exploring and explaining your family’s cultural traditions
Practicing traditions has the potential to create family connections. The presence of these traditions fosters communication between you and your little ones. Opportunities are presented to address issues such as life challenges, problem solving and family values when you decide to carry on traditions. Use this time to build character and to also celebrate one another. Begin family traditions within your household, take advantage of the time spent together and watch for the positive results.