It Runs in the Family: Top 4 Tips on Creating Family Rituals and Routines
Supported by comprehensive research findings, Barbara H. Fiese, author of Family Routines and Rituals asserts that rituals and routines have a positive influence on the overall wellbeing of a family. Rituals and routines are those simple but special things you do as a family to bring a sense of order, security, trust, closeness, care and love. Most likely, you already have rituals. No matter how busy you are, loving parents can still take the time to create routines and rituals that their children can cherish. Here is how you can get started with meaningful family routines and rituals:
1. Create Domestic Routines
It is essential for parents to create domestic or household routines early in their children’s life. These routines serve to eliminate chaos and unpredictability; for children, routines offer guidance, security and teach independence. The domestic routines you create will largely depend on the situations in your house. Nevertheless, it is advisable to create morning and after school routines for both younger and older children. These routines may include the things they should do in the morning to get ready for school and what they are expected to do after school. When your child is older, you can allow him to offer some suggestions about routines he may want to undertake especially after school. Consider that pre-teens and teens value their social life; they may want to rush to the phone or computer when they get home, instead of starting their homework immediately. Give them leverage to choose their routines but be sure to place a limit on social activities.
2. What’s Your Fancy
What does each member of your family enjoy? What common interests do you share? No matter how different the kids may feel from each other and from mom and dad, you can enjoy some shared interests together. For example, perhaps everyone in the house enjoys watching Reality TV programs. Instead of each one watching the Reality TV programs separately in their rooms or from their own devices, why not watch a weekly reality show together over some ice cream. If all of you fancy watching certain TV shows, create a ritual or routine for watching the shows together. You will spend more time with your kids and this allows for more bonding too.
3. Ask For Input
Allow your children to suggest activities that they would like to try out or to incorporate as family routines and rituals. This is especially important if you want to introduce a new bonding activity that you can all enjoy together for the long term. In fact, children often come up with better ideas on how they want their family to bond. When you give your children the chance to suggest ideas for new and fun family rituals, they are more likely to actively participate in these activities. Of course, there is room for discussion and compromise so that if one activity is not feasible, you can jump onto something more accommodating for everyone.
4. Learn to Adjust
Families are constantly changing. What may be a meaningful routine or ritual for child today may not mean much in the coming years. It is important to be flexible and open to change. If your 14-year-old son is no longer comfortable with the “hug and kiss” ritual when you drop him off to school, find another way of showing him affection. This can be a special handshake when he leaves for school or a code that only you and he understand. Being open to these changes makes routines and rituals fun activities instead of obligations that family members must comply with.