By: Samantha MacDonald, Online Parent Engagement Coordinator, ParentFurther
We've been talking about family traditions all month long on the ParentFurther blog. Why so much attention to family traditions? 1. Because research study after research study points to the positive benefits of establishing consistent family traditions. and 2. Because they can be a lot of fun for everyone involved!
According to the Journal of Pediatric Health Care, family traditions provide continuity and security, which gives both children and adults a sense of belonging and commitment. Furthermore, establishing new family traditions can help strengthen families who have experienced a loss and help new step families bond by providing shared experiences and creating a feeling of belonging or fitting together.
Here are 5 examples of family traditions that you can make your own.
1. Have a regular family date night: We’ve all heard that family dinner is important (because it is!), but it can get pretty routine after awhile. Keep things fun by establishing one night a week that you go out and try something new as a family. Whether it’s a new restaurant or a picnic in a park across town, get out and explore together. As a kid, one of my favorite things to do was to have dinner at a restaurant situated in a shopping complex and go browse the bookstore next door as a family while waiting for our table. Reading, dinner, and family time all in one outing!
2. Establish a weekend tradition: Chances are, with work and school taking up your week days, your family has more time to get together on the weekends. In my family, Sundays meant family brunch. In your family it could mean a regular movie night, an afternoon spent out-of-doors, or a board game party. By creating a tradition around an activity your family already enjoys, doing it on a regular basis will be an easy transition for your family to make.
3. Find free or inexpensive annual events to attend: As a kid, one of my favorite summer traditions was attending an annual music festival with my family that took place in a state park just outside my home town. Concert tickets can really add up, but in this case it only cost the price of a state park pass (which we continued using throughout the year). Check your newspaper or search online for annual town festivals, parades, or concerts you can attend as a family.
4. Go on a yearly weekend getaway: Whether it was a trip to the lake to swim or a drive to the city to see a play, no summer was complete without a weekend away from home as a family. These vacations weren’t far away or expensive. No plane ticket required--just a few hours in the car. You can save even more money by packing a cooler with your own food. Don’t have a weekend to burn? Start an annual family day trip to a nearby lake or park.
5. Make routine or unpleasant appointments something kids look forward to: In my family, dreaded orthodontist appointments were always followed by a trip to lunch with my mom. I thought I was just getting food from my favorite restaurant, when really I was getting quality one-on-one time with my mother. Can you liven up a trip to the doctor or soothe dentist appointment jitters with the promise of a treat (and family time!) when it’s over? Take some time this summer to enjoy the family traditions you already have and create new ones. Your kids might even thank you! ________________________________________________________________________________ Sources:
1. Nelms, Bobbie Crew, Giving Children a Great Gift: Family Traditions. Journal of Pediatric Health Care, Vol 19(6), Nov-Dec 2005, 345-346.