As a parent, the list of things you want for your kids is probably enormous! By establishing priorities, you can ensure that your most important intentions get the most focus.
One strategy to tackle a variety of parenting duties at once is to plan family traditions to bring your family closer.
A family tradition is a repeated behavior or a positive custom that gathers family together. When you’re together physically, you’ll have opportunities to enhance your relationships and raise happy, responsible children.
Try these activities to implement positive family traditions:
1. Establish arrival/departure customs. A basic part of life is checking in or out with others. When you arrive at work, you make contact with co-workers, saying, “Good morning,” or “Hi.” Before you leave, you might say, “See you tomorrow,” or “Have a great day!”
* Parents are charged to teach children these important communication skills, not only for their futures, but to enhance family attachment. Salutations customs are one great way to practice.
* Kids observe parents greet each other or say their good-byes while making eye contact and giving a hug or kiss. Then, the practice is performed between parent and child. Eventually, children demonstrate these behaviors with each other.
* Establishing arrival/departure customs as family traditions sends messages like, “You’re important,” and “I’m glad you’re here.” These are good concepts for your kids to internalize about themselves. And as they grow, they’ll be glad that they know how to communicate them, too.
2. Eat dinner together. Make it a rule that everyone will come home to eat together at dinnertime. As difficult as this tradition might be to enforce, it will pay off big time. Your family will be more intimately connected with one another. Plus, research shows that families who regularly eat together raise happier, healthier children.
* The family dinnertime provides a microcosm of life: you teach your children how to “work” to help make the dinner. Your children learn to cooperate with others. Parents can even have the kids make decisions about what to have or how to prepare foods. Kids learn organization through setting the table and preparing for the meal.
* Finally, everyone sits down together to enjoy the fruits of their labors and exchange particulars of their day. Communication skills are learned around the table every day. Eating dinner together will be one of the most important family traditions you’ll ever have.
3. Hold weekly family meetings. Family meetings allow parents to talk about any changes to be made around the house as well as future plans for the family. Special praise and comments can also be offered during these once-a-week meetings.
* Especially important at family meetings is the opportunity for each child to ask questions or to talk about anything that’s troubling them. Everyone is to be treated with respect and given equal time at family meetings.
* Parents are cautioned against totally controlling the meetings since kids will lose interest in this tradition if they’re unable to communicate openly and actively.
4. Celebrate milestones and successes. Have celebrations for each family member’s birthdays and special achievements. Rejoicing over each other’s successes is a very important tradition to have in your family and will keep you close to one another.
* These customs build self-esteem, give positive attention and bring shared joy to the household. They teach siblings to celebrate one another.
* Younger children taking part in celebrations for older siblings can reinforce good behavior and the value of working toward goals.
5. Reinforce appropriate sibling behaviors. We all know a family where siblings fight like cats and dogs. But if parents praise and reinforce positive, healthy behavior between siblings when it occurs, the children will repeat these actions.
Consider applying these family traditions in your home. You’ll help your family feel closer, while helping them build their individual and family identities. In the end, everyone wins!