We know how finding quality time is essential to maintain a strong connection in all relationships.
I believe in intentional parenting and I want to fill my children’s life with as many happy memories as possible.
If you are reading this post, I know you would like to build a stronger connection by doing fun-filled activities with your family.
WHAT ARE FAMILY RITUALS? WHY ARE THEY IMPORTANT?
Family rituals are activities that you do repeatedly on a consistent basis. Family rituals need not be anything complicated and not always involve money.
For example, you might be having a ritual of morning snuggles every day or a special handshake or gestures that you do with your family that no one else knows.
If you have a movie night every week, it’s another family ritual.
The benefits of creating family rituals are:
- Stronger bond between family members: By engaging in activities of common interest, you share quality time with each other. There is an opportunity for a lot of face-to-face interactions and conversations, share disappointments, etc.
- You get more time with each other. A common complaint of families is that they don’t get time to spend with each other. We all are busy and given a chance we would like more time for the things we want to do for ourselves, especially parents. But when you create family rituals, you are intentionally creating time for each other. When it is a ritual, it is a non-negotiable thing.
- Teach values: What are the set of core values you want to pass onto your children? Create traditions and rituals around it. By doing the rituals, they are not only hearing, but also seeing and experiencing. Hence, children get the message imprinted on their minds easily. And it also helps to put things in practice. For example, instead of saying “be grateful”, you can create the ritual of writing thank you notes every other month or on special days to put it into practice.
- Creates a sense of safety and belonging in children: When they have bedtime rituals, weekend rituals, or summer traditions, they can be comfortable about the stability in their life. And when they engage in family traditions, they know they matter and that they belong.
- Everlasting memories: What do you want your kids to remember when they look back upon their childhood? A childhood where they remember their mom and dad being so busy and how they were bored all the time and stayed glued to the screens? Or how they grew up having lots of fun spending time with family and learning a ton of new skills, good values, and virtues?
- Consistency: You know how we want to do so many things with kids, but are not consistent? Maybe you want to create a bedtime ritual of reading stories, but you forget or not get time for it. But when you put it out there and declare it is a ritual, your kids will look forward to it, and then you know you have to show up. It will help you to make connection time a habit.
HOW TO CREATE FAMILY RITUALS?
You can create rituals around the values you want to inculcate in children and also based on what you want to experience as a family.
As a family, what is important for you? What are your priorities? What are your non-negotiable values?
For some families, it could be religion and service and for some, it could be travel. For some others, it could be staying fit or spreading kindness. So you can create daily, weekly and monthly rituals that involve praying together, visiting elderly homes, donating to charities, weekly hiking/swimming, etc.
If exploring new places and traveling is important for your family, you can create a ritual around visiting new places around your city every two weeks, or make camping trips a monthly ritual.
The idea is to create rituals around values and habits and make them as fun as you want it to be.
IDEAS FOR FAMILY RITUALS
In this section, you will find ideas for family rituals that you can do on a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly basis.
IDEAS FOR DAILY FAMILY RITUALS
- Morning snuggles: Take a few minutes every day to hug your kids as soon as they wake up. Kiss them and you can say, “I love you, I missed you,” etc.
- Family meals: Having meals together as a family has many benefits for all, including kids. Eating at least a meal together in a day helps in creating stronger bonds as it provides more opportunities for telling stories and sharing about your day. Family meals also help kids to try out new dishes and as a result, they eat a variety of dishes. It is also an opportunity to teach kids about different foods and table manners.
- Family prayer: If religion is important for you, you can set time apart for praying together. It helps kids to inculcate the religious values you want them to learn and make prayer a daily habit.
- Daily gratitude: Gratitude is an important virtue everyone needs to practice irrespective of age. You can set aside time daily for asking kids about, “What are you grateful for today?”. I like to do this at night as part of our bedtime ritual.
- Storytime: The ritual of bedtime stories has many benefits including developing better language skills, better imagination, vocabulary, language development, etc.
- Family hugs: This is part of our bedtime ritual. We give each other a big long hug before sleeping and say “I love you”. Hugging helps to increase love, lower stress, improve mood, provides the feeling of safety, and make you happier.
- Outdoor time: Evenings or post-dinner hours are great to get some outdoor time as a family. You can breathe some fresh air, play outdoor games, or just do light walking.
- Workout time: The bucket list family is one of my favorite families I follow on Youtube. For them, daily exercise is an inevitable part of their lifestyle. I love how they have made a daily exercise routine for kids and how they make kids do it daily. It’s inspiring to see how it will help the kids to grow up understanding the value of exercise. such rituals also help them to make it part of their daily habits and so it will become easy for them later in life.
IDEAS FOR WEEKLY FAMILY RITUALS
- Game night: Fix a day in your week for playing games as a family. Games can include board games, card games, or any outdoor games.
- Baking day/Pizza day: There is great satisfaction in cooking food from scratch. When you involve kids in cooking, they learn how each dish is made and it helps them to learn the skill. That said, I know how much patience is required while cooking with kids. But most kids love to help in the kitchen. So even though they are messy and slow, the rewards will be great in the long term. Some families like to have theme dinners every week. Like Pasta Friday, Curry Tuesday, etc. It helps meal planning easier too.
- Movie night: Have a movie night where each week the choice of mom/dad or kids are played with a snack of your choice.
- Sports: For some families, sports are an important part of their lives. If you want your kids to share your interest and stay active, weekly sports games are an excellent family ritual you can create.
- Recreation rituals: Instead of going to the same shopping mall every week, you can introduce the ritual of, “Which new place we can visit this week?”. And then the family can come up with ideas and decide the best option for them. You can choose activities like fishing, playing in the park, or visiting places like museums, zoos, beaches, local festivals, exhibitions, concerts, etc.
- Weekly meal planning and shopping: I don’t like to include kids in every grocery run. But my kids are as excited as going to Disney world to go to the grocery shop, so I take them when I can. But when the kids are older, they can be of great help in finding the items on your list too. This also trains them to do errands and contribute their part in running the household.
- Family meetings: This is a ritual I love to have. Whenever there is a burning family issue (sibling squabbles, chores, etc), I take note of it and conduct a meeting. In the meetings, there are no judgments, we hear everyone’s part and write down the important things everyone has to say. And then we brainstorm for solutions together and vow to put them into practice in the coming days. This ritual is something I highly recommend because kids should know that they have a voice and that their problems matter. And also I get to nip a problem in the bud before it escalates much because we take immediate action unitedly as a family.
- Visiting family: If your family lives nearby, visiting them weekly can be made a ritual. Kids love meeting their grandparents, aunts, and cousins and it is something they will look forward to and be excited about.
Related: How to get kids started on doing chores
IDEAS FOR MONTHLY FAMILY RITUALS
- Mommy/Daddy dates: Families usually go out together. But a special mommy or daddy date lets us take each kid out and do their favorite activity and spend one-on-one time with him/her.
- Cleaning mission: This ritual is to develop kids’ sense of responsibility and their sense of belonging. Every month, plan a cleaning ritual in your home. This can include decluttering wardrobes, drawers, cupboards, and all the rooms in your house, and then washing quilts, curtains, etc. Plan it beforehand and assign duties to each child. This not only teaches responsibility to kids but also lighten your workload.
- Camping trips: There are places where you can go camping all year round. Camping trips teach kids to solve problems, appreciate nature, stay healthy, and increase self-confidence.
- Volunteer for a cause: Once a month, you can sign up as a volunteer for a cause. It teaches kids virtues like kindness and helps to develop a caring heart for fellow humans and living creatures.
- Write thank-you notes: Let kids write thank you notes to people for their favors, gifts, etc. They learn to express gratitude and reciprocate to kindness this way.
YEAR-ROUND FAMILY RITUALS IDEAS
- Create family memory jars: Buy a glass jar and paint it (or not). And use this as a memory jar. Whenever something memorable happens, write in a piece of paper, write the date, scroll it, and put it inside the jar. It can be color-coded according to each person. Or you can make memory jars for each person.
- Write lunchbox love notes: For kids, it’s fun and a bit of surprise when they see a love note from parents when they are away in school. Write “I love you”, “Thank you for _______”, or anything your heart wishes to tell them and send in the little surprise. Here are some ideas for lunchbox notes.
- Create rituals around birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays.
- When celebrating birthdays, each family member can write a note or letter to the celebrant about what they like about the celebrant.
- 25 days of kindness: Starting from the first day of December, you can create a 25-day challenge leading up to Christmas. This helps to teach kids how to be kind and be of service to others. It doesn’t have to be during Christmas. You can also choose other holidays and birthday months.
- Make your own ornaments for each holiday with kids. Pinterest is your friend here. You can also look up on Youtube.
- Use the occasion of New Year to review the past year and write down the lessons learned in everyone’s journal. This can be an occasion to reflect on the happy moments, sad ones, losses, gains, and wins. Set your family goals together and write down the things you want to do and the places you want to go as a family.
- Make homemade treats for each family member’s special occasions. It could be birthdays, milestones, or any other wins.
- Do camping in your backyard: Make a tent, bake some cookies, and make a favorite drink. Invite friends, organize games, and get some good conversations going.
- Photograph each child on the first day of their school every year. It will be fun to go through them years later and see how they have grown up over the years. Here are some creative ideas for the first-day-of-school photoshoot.
Family rituals are fun. You know how bittersweet it is to see kids growing up. The one thing we can do to make these years count is to have fun, as much as possible. Make the years count so when you look back you don’t need to feel bad about how quickly they went. At least you had fun on the way.
We parents need these rituals as much as the kids to escape the “no time for anything” reality and add more balance to life between work, family, and fun.
Now, I am curious to know about your family rituals and collect more ideas. Please comment below!
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