“Families that have the strongest ties have the most traditions or rituals in their life,” states Miranda Hill, Extension Specialist from Ohio. Furthermore, her studies show that consistent rituals and traditions help establish a sense of continuity, understanding and love that solidifies family bonds.
In a previous blog for October “Keeping Consistent Routines and Rituals” I shared some ideas for putting routines and rituals into daily practice. Similar to rituals, traditions can easily become part of your family just by making the conscience effort to continue them over time. That being said, a ritual turns into a tradition merely by being passed down from generation to generation. Think back to growing up as a child. Perhaps you can remember certain rituals that a grandparent used to do that your own parents carried on when you were young. Do you find yourself now continuing that tradition with your own child? If the answer is yes, you’ve just solidified a family tradition. Like rituals, traditions do not need to be grandiose or extravagant. It’s the simple practice of a shared bond over a repeated act that stands the test of time. It’s likely that some families have already unknowingly established a tradition without a formal label. If every Memorial Day weekend your family goes camping, you’ve established a tradition. If every November you undergo the anxiety of getting the perfect holiday family picture, you’ve got a tradition. If only on birthdays do you break out your great-grandmother’s fine china, you’ve got a tradition.
Putting a tradition into practice, or carrying on an established tradition, is a time for sharing memories and making new ones. Traditions are a large part of precious early memories for young children and trust that they will let you know when a tradition has been missed. There is something special about a tradition that brings families together to bond over adding another tally to mark that it’s been completed. It’s never too late to start a family tradition. Here are some easy ideas to help get your family started:
- The same annual gift for every birthday, something like pajamas or crazy socks
- Attending a community event every year rain or shine, Oktoberfest, 4th of July Parade, Neighborhood Night Out, etc.
- Apple picking every Fall or clam digging every Spring
- Passing on family heirlooms as a rite of passage
- Annual donation of time to a local non-profit, serving food to the homeless on Thanksgiving, singing Christmas carols at assisted living centers
The Parenting Hub would love to hear about special family traditions that you share with your young children. Please send your comments to: email@example.com
Start a Family Tradition
Family Traditions: 10 Ideas to Get You Started
Why do families need rituals?