Published November 1, 2018
As the holidays approach, our senses are filled with heaping plates of decorated cookies, chilly trips to see the light displays, favorite holiday dishes on the table, an orange in the stocking, and so much more. Life during this special time is filled with traditions, big and small. But what’s in a tradition, and why are they so hugely beneficial to children of all ages?
What Makes a Tradition a Tradition?
It’s a pretty simple concept with very few rules. Anything your family does that continues year after year (oftentimes even carried over from generation to generation) is a tradition. Though people generally think of traditions most during the holidays, they exist all year long, often on a daily basis. You likely participate in traditions disguised as routine at mealtimes and bedtimes.
What special things do you do every day with your children that they would recognize as traditions?
How Do Traditions Create Strong Bonds?
Because they are often shared through the decades, traditions provide a solid link from one generation to the next. They provide a platform for building shared memories and experiences that transcend age and distance. This link allows children to feel secure in their part of a bigger whole. Traditions can also reinforce family values such as religion or customs. And they often act as a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of day to day life and encourage precious family time.
How Can You Keep Traditions Strong?
It can be tough during a busy life to carve out the time to spend on family traditions. If you find that is the case, try retaining the core element of the tradition, and allow yourself to take a few shortcuts. For instance, if your family always does a cookie exchange, using a pre-purchased dough can keep the mess and time down to a more manageable task. Traditions can also stall when an important member or a generation of the family passes away. You can fill the void and continue the tradition by picking a member of the next generation to be in charge of preserving the elements for the coming years.
How Can You Create Your Own Traditions?
Talk to friends and family about their favorites, and adopt those that appeal most to you. There’s no time like the present to begin to do special things that will create beautiful memories. Remember some of the most loved traditions are simple and easy to achieve, which is precisely why they have earned their spot as a fave! A special beverage while decorating the house, a few moments to express thanks around the table, or a book that is read every year during the holidays can all strengthen your bond as a family. Your kids may have some great ideas on what they would like to continue or start for your family and will love to hear about the traditions you had as a child.