While the holidays are finally over, the busy schedules of many families continue to be packed with gatherings and visits from and to relatives. This can also be a wonderful time to create and maintain memorable family traditions; ones that teach important values to children and bring about a much-needed sense of order and routine in their lives.
There are numerous benefits to having family traditions for the children and the family unit as a whole. Some of these include the following:
- The Sense of Connection & Belonging: When children participate in family rituals and traditions, they understand that they are not alone, but rather part of something bigger than themselves – their family. This understanding can help them to build a greater sense of self-worth and self-confidence as they mature.
- Family Heritage and Identity: Many family traditions are rooted in distinct cultural traditions as well. These distinctions give children not only a better sense of their ancestry and heritage but also reminds them that they are unique and special. They learn specific customs and stories which they can then pass along to future generations.
- Consistency & Continuity: Family traditions can be very helpful to children during times of high stress, change, and sadness. The ritual nature of the tradition helps to ground and calm children and, again, reminds them that they are part of a unit that is there to love and support them.
- Family Values: Traditions often reinforce values that are important to a family. For example, a family that reads to their children every night usually places a strong value on education. A family that has dinner together every evening typically makes spending time together a household priority.
- Memorable Moments: Family traditions lead to vivid childhood memories – hopefully, good ones. Studies have shown that positive childhood memories can help to make a happier and more generous adult. Nostalgia can help to ward off depression and lower stress and anxiety, among other things.
Many family traditions are passed down, but perhaps some of the most extraordinary and impactful ones are those that are created on their own by the people involved. These new traditions can be offshoots of existing family traditions – blending the old with the new. Traditions are not necessarily set in stone, though. Some of the longest lasting family traditions are ones that have modified – even slightly – over the years to stay relevant and practical.
Traditions may take on a special significance during the holidays, but it is important to remember that one does not need the holidays to create meaningful family moments. Luckily, they can happen at any time of the year.
About the Author:
Gladys Ruiz is the Director of Little Children Schoolhouse in Brookline, MA. After more than a decade working in Early Childhood Education, Gladys opened the Little Children Schoolhouse to provide a nurturing, loving environment—an extension of her student’s home and family life—in Brookline. Pre-K, Preschool and Daycare programs for toddlers and infants include extra activities, such as weekly music, yoga, cooking, science activities, and field trips. Both full day and part-time enrollment are available.