Monday, December 26, 2011

5 Good Family Rituals for Security and Belonging

family dinner 5 Good Family Rituals for Security and BelongingHave you established good family rituals?
Fun, meaningful family rituals reinforce a sense of security and belonging.  Let's face it, as human beings, we love to know what to expect.  We certainly  like our traditions, ceremonies and I'm definitely all about good habits.  When you incorporate these within your family, you are laying the groundwork for success.
Children especially benefit from having well established routines and rituals.  It creates continuity that helps them to understand their world.  This understanding makes them feel more secure which leads to greater self-confidence.  It also helps them to feel loved and to bond to you, their siblings and the other members of your family.

5 Good Family Rituals to Embrace

Every family is different.  What works for one might not work for another.  I don't want to create a lot of pressure here that you need to be doing something that just doesn't fit.  You should pick and choose the rituals you think your family will enjoy and cherish.  They don't have to be complicated, formal or expensive.  Your family rituals just need to bring you together so you can bond and create a few lasting memories.
Here are some starter ideas for family rituals you may want to consider.

1.  Eating Dinner Together

Researchers have found that families that sit down at the table and eat dinner together have some serious advantages over those that don't.  I know everyone is busy, but making this a priority at least 3 to 4 times per week can really have a big impact.  This ritual gives everyone a chance to bond and share their experiences from the day which creates a strong feeling of belonging.  It is also an important teaching time where parents can instill family values.  The communication that goes on at the family dinner table is priceless.  It is an opportunity that you don't want to miss.  Making this one of your family rituals is something you'll never regret.

2.  Game Night

A family that plays together, stays together.  Whether it is Monopoly, softball or the latest video game, having a regular family game night is a ritual that works.  It brings everyone together, teaches sportsmanship and creates a sense of camaraderie.  You can pop popcorn, play music and hand out a winner's trophy.  Make it fun, make it memorable and make it last.  You don't have to always play the same games or even be in the same place.  Your games can change with the seasons and the age of your family.  The important thing is to make it a ritual that everyone expects, is successful at and looks forward to every week.

3.  Bedtime

There are numerous advantages to creating a solid bedtime ritual within your family.  For one, I think this is the most important time of the evening for parent/child bonding.  My wife and I divide the responsibilities with our two daughters.  We trade off every night which one we put to bed.  This gives us both some one-on-one time with each kid.  We read, talk and snuggle.  I'll admit that I sometimes wished that I could skip it, but ultimately I know the memories and connections it is creating is well worth the time spent.  I know it is something I'll look back on and be happy I did.

4.  Holidays

Think back to your childhood.  What memories do you cherish the most?  Some of your most vivid recollections probably have to do with holidays, birthdays or other special events.  These powerful mental images create lasting family connections.  You do not want to miss this opportunity.  Making the way you celebrate into a ritual will reinforce the strength of these memories all the more.  Give everyone a part in making the celebration special and compliment them profusely for how good of a job they do.  This will become something your family will never forget.

5.  Family Vacations

Finally, I recommend taking some kind of vacation together at least once a year.  Even if it is just a simple weekend camping trip, your family will treasure the time together and grow closer because of it.  Family vacations stand out in everyone's mind.  They help you learn that you can rely on one another because in new places, you typically don't have many others outside the family involved.  My wife and I talk up our past family vacations all the time to reinforce the memories for our daughters.


  1. Anonymous3:08 PM

    This is new for me. :P

  2. Very nice. A lot of very important but often overlooked little things.

  3. Those things are great for bringing the family together!

  4. I never understood why my parents used to insist on doing all these. Literally all. But after reading your post, I find truth in all of it. It actually made us bond together as a family and looking back, I do remember all the times we've spent together.

    And early this year, when I stayed in university hall, I actually missed having dinners with my family that I would go back whenever I can. Thanks for sharing these rituals!

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