Traditions: Helping Families Connect
“We must cherish our yesterdays, but never carry them as a burden into the future. Each generation must take nourishment from the other and give knowledge to the one that comes after.”- Ardis Whitman
Tradition isn’t saying “don’t grow” or “don’t change” but rather “remember.”
Grow and change but remember.
Remember who we are, where we came from, and how we can take the experiences, wisdom, and knowledge from previous generations and live a more meaningful life. Traditions strengthen our sense of belonging. They help us connect to one another.
I’m a big fan of traditions and love reminiscing about the ones we did when my kids were little. Whatever season of life you are in right now, I hope you are able to enjoy the simple moments and make great memories with your traditions.
Daily Connection Traditions
I wanted my kids to have memories of us being together as a family on a regular basis. Although breakfast is the most important meal of the day, it wasn’t feasible for us to all have breakfast together. It couldn’t be lunchtime with everyone in different places. That left supper. It worked until the kids got older and extra-curricular activities got in the way. I could have curtailed the activities and insisted on family mealtime but I realized times and circumstances were changing and I would have a better relationship with my kids if I changed our “tradition” from a daily family meal to weekly rather than insisting they not participate in other activities.
Back in the dark ages when my kids were little, we didn’t have to worry about cell phones and tablets at the dinner table but we did make sure the TV wasn’t a distraction. We started with Grace and tried to have everyone share something that had happened that day. I loved seeing their excited faces beaming from ear to ear as they relayed the events of their day.
Family Singing Time
Although my kids cringe when I start singing now, they loved singing together as a family when they were little. They didn’t mind the fact that I wasn’t the world’s best singer and we spent many hours singing in the car. Their passion for music has grown through the years and allows them a way to express themselves creatively.
This is probably one of the traditions we had that gave me the most treasured memories. Every night we would cuddle together on one of the girl's beds and read a story. There were phases where it was the same story night after night and I’m pretty sure I came close to memorizing some of them. But as I look back, that isn’t what I remember. It’s the snuggles and cuddles. It’s remembering my kids reading to me from their favorite books. It’s the time we were able to spend fostering the love of reading that my girls both still have today.
Weekly Connection Traditions
Family Game Night
Monopoly was one of our favorites but it always took forever! If we didn’t have that much time, there were plenty of shorter games. Now we enjoy Exploding Kittens and Scattergories, just to name a few. Find your family favorites and spend some time together laughing and making memories.
My kids would have lived off pizza and we all looked forward to having pizza once a week. We usually did take out or delivery due to our schedules but occasionally we would make our own. The girls enjoyed being able to add their own toppings and make their own creations.
Sunday Morning Breakfast
When I was growing up, my mom would take us for donuts after church each Sunday. It gave us time to spend together and was a treat we didn’t get any other time during the week. My youngest still needs her donuts on Sunday mornings when she comes home.
Monthly Connection Traditions
Once a month, one daughter got to spend the day with Daddy doing whatever she chose for the day. Since we only had 2 girls, by default, the other one got a Mommy date. My girls eagerly looked forward to these dates. Even though it was usually nothing extravagant, it was one-on-one time with a child and parent. We had a chance to talk about what was going on in their lives, do fun things, and make each child feel special.
Box of Goals
Here’s a wonderful way to teach kids how to set and work towards goals. I wish I had known about this when my girls were little. Each month have everyone write down one goal they want to accomplish that month. Store in a special box and then review them the following month and pick new goals. Rinse and repeat.
Life Changes/Milestone Traditions
First Day of School Photos
Every year on the first day of school, my girls had their photo taken with a sign showing the date and school year. We did it in the same spot each year so I could see how they grew over the years. They had to undergo the torture of that first-day-of-school photo before they could open their first-day-of-school present. It was usually a book that I picked especially for them and wrote a little note inside.
New Privilege/New Responsibility Cards
This is another tradition I wish I had known about. On each birthday, give your child 2 envelopes. One labeled “New Privilege” and the other “New Responsibility” and give your child an age-appropriate privilege and responsibility each year. It’s a nice way to teach your child that with age comes greater power and with power comes greater responsibility.
During their senior year of high school, I got the Dr.Seuss book Oh, the Places You’ll Go! and arranged to have their teachers and friends write something special in it. They received it when we left them at college and the girls loved it! I also made sure they had a photo album with my hopes for them. Things like “I hope you remember the importance of family,“ “I hope your humor will surface when you are faced with difficult situations in your life,” and “I hope you are not afraid to fail. Experience is just mistakes you won’t make anymore.” With each “hope”, I added photos from their life that was relevant to that “hope.” It’s a special keepsake I hope they will treasure for years.
Providing opportunities to give a special gift that helps you connect to your loved one in a meaningful way is a passion of mine. Through Kidderbug Kreations, I hope to provide gifts that connect generations. Giving a gift you had uniquely created for your child shows your love in such a special way. So whether it’s for a birthday, Christmas, or “just because,” check out Kidderbug Kreations to find a unique gift that will be treasured for years.
Anne from Kidderbug Kreations.