Family rituals can inspire self-confidence and a secure foundation in your kids that can last a lifetime.
But don't get out your planner and the calendar — there's no need to get overly detailed and elaborate about creating shared family time. In fact, the simpler, most basic routines are probably best (less stress, for one!). The simplest things are the ones we remember forever.
You probably already have simple rituals in place, like bath time, bedtime routines, and family dinners. You might even have slightly more elaborate rituals you enjoy seasonally or only on certain holidays or on birthdays.
Family rituals should be enjoyable. That's the idea. So if you're looking to create some in your family, then choose something that everyone can agree on (that's why meals work; everyone likes to eat!). The kids are probably not going to be down for "Let's Repaint the Kitchen night!" Similarly, parents may not want to promise to indulge regularly in "Let's Watch Star Wars: The Clone Wars night!"
And keep it loose. Some family rituals are not going to last from kindergarten through high school. Your rituals might have to shift and grow and change, as your family does. And while some family rituals may be harder to stick to as your kids enter teenhood, they might be all the more important to keep in play so you can stay connected.
Need ideas? Here are five ways to enjoy family rituals this summer and beyond:
- Share a meal: Getting everyone in the family all in once place and sitting still is key, and if that means, you must lure them with a good food, then do it. Most families find dinner the easiest meal to keep consistent. Do whatever works for your family. And if you can get the kids involved in the food shopping or meal making, even better.
- Take a walk: After dinner is a great time to encourage for a family walk. This is harder, of course, as your kids get older, but you can try initiating walks to more exciting places as they grow up: a nature trail, the river, downtown, or someplace else the kids like.
- Make a weekly event at home: Friday night pizza is our favorite. Every Friday, we make pizza, sometimes frozen, other times homemade pizza or takeout pizza — but always pizza. Having a once-a-week game night, movie night, or a frozen treats night at home are other fun, inexpensive ideas. Or be flexible and deem one night a week as family night and do whatever fits your fancy and your energy level when the day comes.
- Enjoy a weekly outing together: Maybe it's a modest dinner out, a summer evening picnic at the park, a bike ride, rollerskating, bowling, or a weekend trip to the farmer's market or local flea market. Some families (mine!) need to get away from the distracting call of the home front (internet, phones, TV) in order to really focus on each other and have fun together.
- Get together with other families: Sure, family rituals are about your own family's time together. However, I learn great stuff about my husband and kids when other adult friends and/or their kids are around. If you don't like to cook or don't have time to clean the house, meet at a park for a picnic. If you feel like you're too busy, combine family necessities like shopping, meals, or exercise with friend time — like the farmer's market, a quick meal after soccer practice, or a walk around the neighborhood. Again, simple is best and an hour's time is ample — cause you can do it again next week!
What simple family rituals do you and your family take part in regularly? Seriously, no idea is too simple here!
Read about other mom's favorite family rituals inside each of our Show & Tell Home Tours.