Family traditions help provide to each family member a home, environment, and relationships of purpose in a world of confusion, disorganization, and decreasing morals and values. Traditions provide families the desired foundation of comfort, familiarity, and consistency, which certainly helps ensure that family disunity, dysfunction, and eventual separation does not occur. And yet, the most effective family traditions are not those that only occur annually on certain holidays – they are made evident in daily and weekly habits and actions that are simple, yet significant.
No, these traditions are not about large meals, big events, fancy decorations, or annual celebrations – these are the very traditions that help define who we are, determine our personal and family happiness, and even the eventual outcome of our children. As you will see below, there are 15 family traditions listed (the remaining 15 are contained in part 2 of the Family Traditions article series), and there certainly could be hundreds more listed. These 30 listed, however, are traditions that make a difference because they require effort, creativity, consistency, and most importantly – the ability to make time for the most important relationships in life – our family!
- Daddy-Daughter / Daddy-Son Dates Once a Month: Spend individual time with each child, at least once a month (this applies to Mommy-Daughter or Mommy-Son dates as well). Go out to eat together, go for a drive, do something the child wants to do – but spend time with each other, talk, create memories, and have fun!
- Dad’s Saturday Breakfast: Let mom take the morning off – Dad and the kids make Mom breakfast on Saturday’s!
- Two Family Night’s Each Month: Establish every other Friday (or Sunday, Wednesday, etc. – whenever) as ‘Family Day.’ No business, sports, TV, friends, etc. that night. Just family! Pull out the games and play games together as a family. Watch a movie together. Go out to eat. Just have fun and be together! Most importantly, be consistent in doing it every month!
- ‘Friends Night’: Be involved in your kid’s lives, create an ‘open home’ environment, and help your children feel comfortable inviting friends over into your home. Once a month, have a ‘friends night’ where your kids can invite over any friends – and just allow them to have fun, play games, and just enjoy being together!
- ‘Saturday Work Hour’: Each Saturday morning, set aside one hour where the whole family helps with work around the house. From cleaning rooms and the house, to vacuuming, to mowing the lawn and yard work – just establish the tradition that for one hour every Saturday – it is ‘family work time.’
- ‘Annual Days’: Be creative and establish certain days each year to do the same thing. Examples: go bowling, fishing, camping, shopping, skiing, hiking, etc. Attend a baseball game, a performance, go for a drive, visit someone, call someone, do a service project, etc. Perhaps just have an annual ‘Family Day,’ or ‘Kids Day,’ or ‘Sports Day,’ or ‘Amusement Park Day,’ etc. Choose one or many – or think of your own – but do this same activity every year on a certain day!
- ‘Special Plate’: Designate a plate that will only be used for ‘special’ occasions (simply buy or make your own). Pull it out for: good report cards, awards at school, winning a game, a good performance, graduation, promotions, pay raises, birthday’s, anniversary’s, etc.
- ‘Growth Wall’: Use a wall in the house as the ‘growth chart.’ As children grow, mark their growing heights as the years pass.
- Annual Family Vacation: Just put it in the calendar that every year the family will go on a family vacation together! It of course can be at different times, and to different places – but do it every year.
- Monthly Reach Out to Family Day: Set aside a few minutes once a month to simply stay in touch with family. Pick up the phone and make calls, send some emails, write a few letters – do something. Call parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins, niece/nephew, friends, etc.
- Daily Chores: Make it a tradition (although the kids may not see this as that ‘fun’ of a tradition) – to have each child have a daily chore. It could be: make bed, clean room, vacuum, straighten bathroom, set table, etc. Establish a tradition of work and helping the family.
- Weekly Family Planning: Get together as a family each week and go over schedule, calendar, things coming up, etc. More importantly, talk about and discuss any issues needing to be addressed, use it has time to teach, communicate and stay connected, and just be together.
- ‘Learn to Cook’: Perhaps each Sunday, have each child take a turn helping cook the Sunday dinner. Use this time not only to help the child learn how to cook – but just have one on one time with just you and your child.
- Annual Ancestry and Family History Day: Perhaps on Memorial day, go and visit the graves of loved ones who have passed on. Go and visit living grandparents. Visit, talk to, learn from, and record history of these people.
- ‘Stay Up Late Friday Nights’: Each Friday night – the kids get to stay up (and then sleep in on Sat. morning). Just stay up as a family and play games together, tell stories, watch a movie, etc.
(To view the remaining 15 family tradition ideas, please see part 2 in the Family Traditions article series).