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5 Ways to Create Meaningful Family Rituals

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5 Ways to Create Meaningful Family Rituals

If you asked your kids what they like best about your family, what would they say? Maybe, they like the activities you do together as a family—the things you do regularly—so they can look forward to them coming again and again. Perhaps, it’s the seemingly insignificant family traditions you’ve thought up that make them swell with pride and feel like an insider in something pretty important. Or maybe, they treasure most those intimate moments you have with them alone because that’s what makes them feel so special.

Go ahead. Ask them. And then try to include more of their preferences in your family life.

You see, you can develop plans and initiate activities that are just right for your family. And you have the unique opportunity to create meaningful family rituals that bond you together, give your kids a sense of belonging and make them feel valued. When you make decisions together, it strengthens family relationships, increases family support and makes family life more fun. In fact, families who talk and plan together are more successful and happier than families who don’t.

So why not start today? Tell your kids how much your family means to you. Talk with them about how you want to create a sense of family team that keeps you close—now and as they grow older. Give them some of your thoughts about things you can implement in your family and then ask them for their ideas. Listen carefully and validate each child as he shares. Even young children love to be included in these discussions because it makes them feel so important. And remember—your kids’ ideas are just as valid as yours. If they don’t buy in to the decisions you make, they won’t commit to them. So make sure there’s plenty of discussion about each suggestion, everyone in your family has an equal vote, and you make the decisions and plans together.

As the parent, you will want to guide the discussion but not impose your ideas. So here are some suggestions you can make for creating everyday rituals that are meaningful and that will bring you closer together.

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Joanne Stern

Joanne Stern, PhD, is a psychotherapist with a private practice emphasizing counseling with families, parents, couples and teens. She’s a teacher, consultant, speaker, and expert guest on parenting and family topics, including communication, discipline, self-esteem, addictions, eating disorders, grief, and loss. Parenting Is a Contact Sport: 8 Ways to Stay Connected to Your Kids for Life is her first book. A mother and grandmother, she and her husband, Terry Hale, live in Aspen, Colorado.


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12:43AM PST on Nov 8, 2014

Thank you!

4:28PM PST on Dec 5, 2010


5:43AM PST on Nov 29, 2010

Nice article

12:18AM PST on Nov 25, 2010

Great ideas :-)

10:45PM PST on Nov 24, 2010

I meant live now ,instead.. life now... thanks.

10:43PM PST on Nov 24, 2010

It's all about keeping your family and friends together. Life now, laugh hard and loud, share your happiness, your food, stay positive, I am saying this because, life is just a moment so, make it worthy, thanks....

9:15PM PST on Nov 24, 2010

If all families go with these rituals,and the society go with it and the world will be like a huge conference full of discussion...
Interesting,but after all,many parents can't change their habits--like a dictator.
Sometimes all decisions by one is more efficient than that discussed by all.
But the latter is the mode of society which help children adapt earlier to the society,and have a sense that no all thing can be done by a single person.

8:10PM PST on Nov 24, 2010

Thanks. I don't have children but when I got married and moved away from what was left of my family, my husband and I created our own rituals, especially for holidays.

6:24PM PST on Nov 24, 2010


4:20PM PST on Nov 24, 2010

Too bad that the world isn't really that simplistic. Otherwise, life would be a lot easier.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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