5 Ways to Cultivate Family Rituals

5 Ways to Cultivate Family Rituals

The benefits of having regular connecting time with your children are endless. As the primary caregiver, consider the value in creating a space that feels emotionally safe for your child. Their world outside of the home can be full of stress-filled experiences so coming home to a sanctuary with you as their nurturing anchor will help soothe and calm their beings so there is room and energy for all the growing up that they are busy doing! Here are some thoughts on intentionally creating this soft nest for your child to land in at the end of each day.

  1. Meals: Whenever possible, eat together without distractions. There’s no need to fuss over fancy food, but focus instead on creating a warm, nurturing environment for family meals to take place. Your children will grow up with these memories as part of their blueprint for family life and will feel more connected to you, both now and in the adolescent years.
  2. Upping the Fun Factor: With school-aged children it can include a weekly games night, baking your traditional cinnamon buns, or Sunday trips to the local library. The bottom-line is that if it is a time where you and your little one(s) can spend quality time together, it really means the sky is the limit. What makes rituals so meaningful, is that there is a repetitive aspect to it. Children (and adults) find comfort in repeatedly engaging in these ordinary (yet extraordinary) moments and we, as parents, have the privilege of helping them create these experiences.
  3. Avoid a sense of obligation, when carving out time for your family’s rituals. Try to find a way to meet the needs of all your family members so that you all enjoy being together as opposed to doing things you may feel obligated to engage in.
  4. Celebrate your child’s uniqueness. Any excuse to highlight their budding strengths or interests will help your child feel loved and reinforce a healthy self-image. Perhaps this is done simply with a mention over dinnertime or in a more concrete way by writing it out as a complement on a family chalkboard.
  5. Bedtime reading is still an invaluable connecting activity in the school-aged years. Even though your child may be an independent reader, reading to them at bedtime is such a fantastic way to bond with your child at the end of each day.

Lastly, holidays are typically already filled with rituals and traditions and if the emphasis remains on togetherness and a sense of unity, these rituals will go a long way in creating your own family’s unique culture. If it gives you a sense of “this is who we are”, you are on the right track!

Nathalie Scott MSW, RSW, RPT

Read other articles of Discovering Treasures in the School Aged Years