Family Traditions create a unique identity of the family that children can easily connect with, giving them a strong sense of belonging and security.
It consists of regular routines and rituals that a family does together again and again at the same time or in the same way.
Family traditions, when well-planned, strengthen the family bond and establish a distinct family culture that every member feels he is a part of something special.
It also provides a warm and secure environment where children learn values as they mature and develop into confident individuals.
These can be done daily, weekly, monthly or yearly.
Here are some family traditions that keep our family bond stronger.
1. Daily Prayer
We believe that the family that prays together stays together. For our family, family prayer is our most important ritual. It doesn’t have to be just a mealtime thing. You can pray as a family before everyone leaves in the morning and before everyone goes to bed.
Everyday, ever since they were babies, we bless our children in the morning before we go to work or before they go to school. We ask God to keep them safe from all danger and harm, especially when we are not with them.
At night before they go to sleep, we gather together to give thanks to God for the protection and guidance that He has given us.
Until now that my children are aged 15, 17 and 21, they will never leave our home or go to bed without these prayers.
2. Sunday Mass Together
On Sundays, we go to church together. Our children have known from a young age that Sunday mass can never be compromised. Rain or shine, whether the sky is hazy or clear, we have to attend Sunday mass. Together.
Even now that they are adult and adolescents, they schedule their activities with friends exclusive of our family day. If they really have to go out on a Sunday, they will inform us, and we will attend a different mass timing. Together.
After mass, we eat lunch or dinner at our favorite restaurant, then watch a movie or play family games at home.
3. Bedtime Stories
Studies show that Children who have parents that read to them regularly typically do better in school and have wider vocabularies than children who don’t.
Reading with your child will not only make them smarter, but it’s a great way to strengthen your bond.
It’s very comforting and soothing for a child to hear his dad read aloud in different voices. He will surely have a goodnight sleep.
4. Family Game Night
Get away from the digital! Analog games, from Scrabble to Pictionary to Card Games, are a fun and cheap way to bond and have fun together as a family. Tamp the competition down and ramp the laughter up.
I personally enjoy watching my boys challenge one another in several games of chess.
5. Movie Night
Our kids grew up with Disney movies like Land Before Time, Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, you name it, we've watched it! Together with these movies we traveled to many wonderful places, as they develop their imagination.
They are also great teaching moments on how to be noble and honest, to respect their parents, elders and people different from us, to love their friends and help them in trouble.
All these movies helped them to believe that good always wins over evil.
6. Daddy's Pizza & Homemade Bread
Boy used to make pizza for dinner on Sundays too. He prepared the dough and the sauce. Sometimes, our kids help lay their favorite toppings. They always loved it, looking forward to each Sunday.
Baking bread was our favourite family bonding time. We never bought our bread from the grocery store, we make our own bread! If you happen to be at our place on a Monday, you’ll surely have a taste of our freshly baked bread!
While moulding the dough, we talk about many things. Our children share about their school activities, their friends, their dreams. We talk about movies we've watched and laugh about the funny things they did when they were young. We may even plan future family getaways.
7. First Haircut
We had a tradition of not cutting our baby’s hair until his first birthday to signify the end of his babyhood.
My husband did all our sons’ first few haircuts until they were comfortable to go to the barbershop. After that they always had a haircut together, until now.
I used to take pictures of them getting their ears lowered and then keep a small lock of their hair in their baby album.
8. Unique Birthday Celebration
Each birthday is celebrated in a simple but unique way.
For Ezekiel, who’s birthday is in December. He rarely has a party as his friends are mostly away on a holiday. But because it is during the Christmas Octave, he is always happy to have our relatives coming over, or sometimes we visit them in the Philippines.
In our family, he is always the last to wakeup in the morning. So while he is sleeping, all of us will gather around his bed, surrounding him with presents and singing a birthday song. When he wakes up, even before washing his face, he will open his gifts excitedly, still clad in his pajamas.
9. Memorable Anniversary Celebration
Each of our Wedding Anniversaries is celebrated in a creative way.
On our 15th year, we had a candle-lit dinner at the balcony of our home. Our Nathaniel covered the table with a nice cloth, Ezekiel put a glow in a few wax candles, and they lined-up with Gabriel to serve the food.
While Boy & I were eating, Gabriel played the piano and Nathaniel took our photo. It was the most memorable Anniversary we had! It gladdened our hearts to see these youngsters instilled with old-fashioned charm and thoughtfulness.
10. Christmas Gifts Shopping
When our children were young we would bring them to a toy store and let them select a surprise gift that they will give to one another on Christmas eve.
We will split into two groups, having one boy with me and two with their Dad. The three of them will go around the store to find a surprise gift for the one who is with me. After that they will switch places until they have bought the present for each one.
Now that they are older, they contribute their allowance and buy gifts for everyone.
You can start creating your own family traditions that your family will forever cherish. Be it on a daily basis such as prayers and rituals before the children go to school in the morning or before going to bed at night, or a weekly lunch with family games, a monthly family movie, or a unique birthday or anniversary celebration, your family will enjoy every moment of it.
Indeed, family traditions, create wonderful memories that act like “cement” to keep the family bond stronger.
And the best thing about these traditions is you can start them immediately!
I don’t mean tomorrow. I mean now!
May God bless your family always!
What family traditions do you have or planning to have?
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