The Who, What, When, Where and Why for Creating Family Traditions that Create Connections.

When you hear the word ‘tradition’, what do you think of? Of course, I immediately think about Fiddler on the Roof and the word ‘TRADITION’ booming in song! A very old memory indeed, but isn’t that what traditions are all about? Old and familiar ways of doing things…a place to go for comfort and routine.

What are Traditions?

When it comes to the holidays, ‘tradition’ is truly the essence of the season. We pass down lots of past family practices like; putting the same ornaments on the tree, using the same tablecloth and decorations, or cooking the same dishes and special treats.

Tradition is defined as "the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation, or the fact of being passed on in this way." And just like routines, traditions offer safety and structure to our kids – an opportunity to pause, take stock and spend time together - something families can benefit from all year round.

Who are traditions for?

Everyone! Traditions help to reinforce values within your family, and they are for everyone - big and small! Traditions help kids foster positive memories and creates deeper connections among family members! Traditions and rituals are the very things that create huge deposits in the emotional connection bank! They create a sense of belonging and comfort for every member and are truly a unique experience that binds everyone together.

When should we make traditions?

Right away! Having routines to provide a sense of security, traditions are just another way that you can help your kids feel more secure in themselves as they grow up! And they're not just for the holidays, traditions and routines can be implemented any time of the week, from Sunday Church and Pancakes to a bedtime routine! in the article "Family Traditions Help Kids Make Sense Of Life", Dr Justin Coulson shares the statistic:

"In a 2015 study involving approximately 250 teens (aged 15-20), researchers discovered that the practice of family rituals and traditions had a significant and important protective role in increasing social connectedness for teens, and for reducing their experiences of anxiety."

Where do Traditions Happen?

Anywhere you make them! Traditions can be baking with your kids, going to the park, visits to grandma's house, heading to the city to see a Christmas tree, in your living room watching movies... anything!

Traditions are based on your values as a family and creating connections that make you all happy together! One of our GPP teammates, Mandi shares some of her favorite traditions, “I love baking with my family - it’s just what we do! I have a friend who goes to Manhattan every year to Rockefeller Center to see the splendor of the lights and energy of the season! They’ve done this for years!” Both very different experiences, but still something each of their families created to connect with one another, potentially becoming a longstanding tradition they pass on to their kids too!

Why create them in the first place?

As I’m sure you’ve gathered by this point. Creating traditions boils down to creating a connection with your kids, and opening opportunities to communicate effectively. Think of it kind of like a safe space, and it’s one of the easiest ways to do it!

Fun Fact! Spending just 15 minutes a day in some sort of one-on-one activity with your child will IMMEDIATELY create a deeper connection! This is something you can start building on everyday of the year!!

BONUS: The How! How can you create traditions with your kids?

That’s the million dollar question, right? We’re not here to tell you how to parent your kids, so I’m not going to give you a step by step… per say. I will give you a couple of great examples of how you can create a connection with your kids through small traditions! If you don’t believe me, go ahead and try one of these with your kids and see what happens!

  • Gratitude - Ask your child each day what they’re grateful for. You do the same
  • Read together
  • Make up stories together
  • Have your child ‘teach’ you a game they enjoy
  • Bake/Cook together
  • Virtually ANYTHING you do together that creates meaning between family members...

The opportunities are endless and the rewards are priceless! Family rituals begin by getting clear and being intentional about what you enjoy doing as a family. Curious how to do that? We have a quick tool that can help you plot out your family rituals by identifying how you want to spend time together and really make it happen!

A great place to start is HERE with our FREE Family Connection Worksheets! These help you to start planning the best ways your family connects, and walks you through the process of weeding out what gets in the way of creating consistent connections (Holidays, or every day!)



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