These are activities that you do together as a family repeatedly, things that are unique to you and your family. Sustaining family traditions takes effort but has multiple benefits, you will never want to stop.
Ritual is something you do in the same way over and over, on purpose. To me, family ritual is practically any activity you purposely repeat together as a family that includes a heightened attentiveness, and something extra that lifts it above the ordinary ruts. (Meg Cox)
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”
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.
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.
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.
4. They bring the family 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.
Kids who grow up feeling close to their extended families are those who regularly attend family reunions, or go to “cousins camp” at Grandma’s every summer.
5. They teach family values
Family Traditions reinforce and teach what the family value system, for example some families add philanthropy to their holiday festivities and don’t just focus on gift giving.
6. Family values teach practical skills
Family traditions can also be designed to teach practical skills, as in families where the kids take turns making Sunday breakfast —even if they start off serving peanut butter sandwiches.