By Lisa Edwards, Parent Coach
Does your family have a special ritual or tradition? Do you use Great Grandma’s cookie recipe? Or an elf on the shelf? Do you go to the holiday church service to light a candle? All of these things can be important for you and your family. Whether you are starting something new, or following something that has been done for years, family traditions have many benefits for everyone.
Benefits of Family Traditions
Stability – Everyone human seeks out stability. Traditions provide this emotional need. No matter what may be happening in your life, or where you may be at, you can find stability in your tradition. For example, if you tuck your children in every night, and blow them 3 kisses, it doesn’t matter where you are, you can always tuck them in the same way every night. It provides comfort to children.
Something to look forward to – I LOVE traditions. I have many that I carry on that I did as a child, and I love to start new ones with my own children. It gives us an opportunity to look forward to what may come. Even though traditions are generally thought of around the holidays, we have created many that we do throughout the year. This gives us something to look forward to all year long.
Family time – “The most important time is family time.” Spend time together and cherish every moment.
Communication – As I enter the world of having teenagers, I realize how much they don’t really want to talk to me. Our traditions give my children a time to relax and put the pressures of peer relationships and growing up on hold. They can be a kid again and just enjoy the time we have together. We often get silly and put the focus on fun. Our children communicate more with us when they are relaxed and comfortable in this safe space. We share stories, and have deep discussions about our heritage, and why we continue these important traditions.
Teach family values – You should spend time doing what you value most. Generally traditions are a reflection of what your family values. We do family service projects which helps to teach my children kindness, empathy for others and gratitude for all they have been blessed with. These are important family values I want my children to understand.
Connect generations – traditions can be passed from generation to generation. Although my mom died when my children were very young, they still are able to get to know their grandmother. She was an outstanding cook, and they understand this as we use some of her favorite recipes that she perfected. I share stories of my mother baking, and my children feel a connection to her.
Memories – When you quality time with your children you are creating memories. I know our children get tired of us telling them, “When I was a kid we did this…” Someday, your children will be sharing these stories with their children. These memories will be cherished.
Traditions You Can Start Today
Here is a list of various traditions that you can start today with your family. They don’t have to be complicated or cost a lot of money. Some of the best traditions are the most simple things that we do together as a family. It puts the focus back on family.
Day of baking – Enjoy family recipes by baking them together. This can be fun with friends too!
Game Nights – We have a tradition of baking chocolate chip cookies on rainy days and playing board games while they bake. Some of my fondest memories with my mom are doing this exact thing. I hope my children will remember these times fondly too.
Night of Lights – Grab some hot chocolate and drive around town to see the holiday lights
Family Service Project – Look for opportunities to grown and serve as a family. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Collect donations for the local food shelter. Rake leaves for neighbors.
Family Camp Outs in the Living Room – Fun for the whole family!
You Are Special Plate – We celebrate special accomplishments with a Your are special plate. That person gets to eat their dinner off this plate while we celebrate them!
Holidays are a time for traditions. Whether you are carrying on a family tradition from long ago, or starting a new one, they can be very important to everyone in the family. No tradition is too small. Start making your own today! Share ideas for your own family traditions below or share in our Facebook Group.