What do I mean by “Family Traditions”?
Well, these are activities that you do together as a family repeatedly, things that are unique to you and your family. It could be the way you celebrate Christmas, what you do at Easter, or how you welcome in a new school year.
Making some of these milestones special with traditions will strengthen your family in a number of ways.
In their book, “Family Traditions”, authors J. Otis Ledbetter and Tim Smith define a tradition as
“the practice of handing down stories, beliefs and customs from one generation to another in order to establish and reinforce a strong sense of identity”
So these are ways that Family Traditions will benefit you and your family :
1. They give children a sense of belonging
Children gain a strong sense of belonging when we hold Family Traditions that tell them, “This is our family, and this is how WE do things.” It provides them with a strong security and sense of identity.
They are a part of a particular family unit, and they belong.
Belonging is one of the greatest emotional needs we all have as we grow up. Children need a sense of belonging and you can give that to them by building Family Traditions into your lives.
2. They affirm your children’s importance to you
Having Family Traditions and doing things in a special way, unique to your family, tells children that they are important to you – important enough for you to take time out to think and plan for Traditions that they will enjoy. It reaffirms their sense of worth.
Perhaps it’s how you celebrate their birthday every year by bringing them cake in bed and singing to them, or what you do the night before Christmas.
Whatever it is, when we have Family Traditions, they know that they matter deeply to us.
3. They become treasured memories
The happy byproduct of having Family Traditions is that they become treasured memories that your children will carry into adulthood. They will also be memories that you can hold onto long after they have left home – memories you too can treasure of the fleeting years that they are still living with you.
I love the memories I have of fun Christmases, sneaking into their rooms when they’re (finally!) asleep and putting their Christmas sacks at the bottom of their beds, laughing on the couch while watching family movies and eating mug cakes, celebrating pancake day and many more fun times we’ve had. It took effort – but I’m grateful for every memory I now have.
4. They bring you and your children closer together
Family Traditions build family togetherness. When we do things together as a family – have fun and enjoy ourselves, these traditions become something your children look forward to, and even ask for – and bring everyone closer together.
Families that play together stay together.
We have found this to be true. For years now, we have had a Family Tradition of having a ‘Family Night’ as often as we can on a Friday or Saturday night – just us and the children. We watch a family movie together, and I make or buy sweet treats and get popcorn for us to enjoy together.
My youngest son has often requested a “Family Night” just because he loves the togetherness it brings us. He doesn’t want to just watch a movie with his brother – he wants us all there, together.
My husband and I have good, strong relationships with our children and I attribute it partly to the Family Traditions that we’ve built with them.
5. They help children better navigate the stormy years
Family Traditions have a way of ‘grounding’ your children. When things around them are changing and perhaps turbulent, as they tend to be in the teen years, Family Traditions give them something to fall back on, something that remains constant in their life.
It helps them better navigate change and uncertainty in other parts of their lives for e.g. changing schools, going through puberty, or a change of teacher or friendship circle.
What about you? Do you have any Traditions that you do as a family? Or are there any that you are now planning to do?