Don’t make the mistake of thinking traditions are only for holidays or special occasions! Simple, but fun rituals can enhance everyday life. We put together traditions for three areas of life where implementing one would enhance family fun! Check out our favorites:
Hold your horses, we’re about to go nuts with alliteration. Some of our favorite rituals are perfect for everyday.
Take Mondays from mundane from marvelous by making them Milkshake Mondays. Take turns letting your kiddos choose the place. If you’re worried about the health factor of such a decadent after-school snack, keep a sleeve of styrofoam cups and bendy straws in your console and split the treats.
On the home front for food, post a weekly menu and let your people place their “order.” Be sure to break out the “You are Special” plate for the little things...a good grade on a test, an act of kindness performed, or even 24 hours without fighting between siblings. Don’t forget that being special is not limited to kids. Let them see you celebrate the adults and their accomplishments and feelings too.
At mealtime, try the daily “highs and low” conversation. Go around the table and let each person tell the best and worst moments of the day.
Get a secret sign that will stand the test of time. Use at drop off, from the audience of the piano recital, or as they walk down the aisle. Think secret handshake meets pitching signal.
There’s kind of a fine line between rituals and traditions. We recommend making “everyday” special, but not Every.Day. It’s best to avoid developing a situation where only you can get your child to sleep because grandma or the teen babysitter gets steps number three and seven of the sleepy time routine mixed up. We know bedtime isn’t always easy. However, here are some super sweet recommendations:
Pick a song that your child loves to listen to each night. You can sing it, they can sing it, or someone professional like lsrael Kamakawiwoʻole can sing it much better (and, in true 21st century fashion, you can say “goodnight” and hit play via an app from your phone when you’re out of town or out on the town.)
The special song will be something your child can carry with them always - in their head, on their phone, or whatever we’re using twenty years from now. Plus, even though it might be a little presumptuous, the special song could even play a role in future important life events.
In our opinion, travel traditions are the most fun. Picking an out of the norm breakfast spot that can be easily found on the road is a fun travel habit. There’s nothing like anticipation with a side of hash browns. Then, every time you pass one of the establishments locally, you’ll get a “remember when..” or an “I can’t wait until…”
Sack o’ surprises
Before a road trip, stock up on favorite candies, new books, tiny toys, and dollar store items. Then doll them out one at a time, as the miles (and the “are we there yets” add up.) This works with all ages (we’re not just talking about the kids here, folks.)
Throwback in the “way back”
In the car, or on the plane, or train, enforce tech breaks. Play an old fashioned game like “A my name is Alice” or “I’m going on a picnic.” Have each person in the car tell what is at the top of their personal list for the upcoming adventure.
Souvenirs with a future
On trips, let each child choose a Christmas ornament for the family tree. Each year, when you put up the tree, you’ll recall the trip on which it was purchased. Then,some day, give your child the box of “their” ornaments for their own tree.
We think one of the most important aspects of developing family traditions is stressing the importance of it’s not where you are, but who you are with that matters. Choose intentionally, so that whether you’re in Akron or Aspen, your clan can feel the holiday magic. Some easy favorites are:
- Driving or walking around to look at lights and extreme holiday displays
- Watching Christmas movies in the dark, with only the glow of holiday lights
- Decorating cookies
Looking at the holiday cards received and telling your kids how you know the people who sent them.
Just grow with it
It’s also key to remember that traditions can transition. Children grow, and people come in and out of our lives in all sorts of ways. Don’t be sad because your people have all outgrown the elf (the one on the shelf.) Make a new game out of that creepy little thing whose name changed every year (raise your hand if the elf at your house had at least one inappropriate name….”Freaky?” “Humpty?”) Hide it, like really, hide it and keep a tally of who finds it the most times. The “winner” gets an extra gift or a dollar per find.
Ultimately, as long as your traditions include love, laughter, and rolling with the punches, you may be able to avoid writing a sad country music song about your life.