In my experience, it’s the little things that make the biggest memories. Do you find that to be true? When I was growing up, we didn’t have air-conditioning. I still remember my dad taking us for drives on hot summer days so we could cool off in the air-conditioned car – and, if we were lucky, through a drive-thru to get an icy cold drink.
Meaningful family traditions don’t have to be grand, or take a lot of planning or money. A few sweet and simple traditions will help you connect with your kids and foster feelings of warmth, security, and belonging. I’m going to share a few of ourfive-minute family traditions – maybe you will find some inspiration to create your own!
1. Goodbye Routine
A silly handshake or special saying is a comforting routine for times when you and your child are parting ways.
When I taught kindergarten, a dad and daughter always did an elbow tap, pinky shake, high-five as their good-bye.
A few years ago, Delaney started blowing different types of kisses to us when saying good-bye: waterproof kisses for rainy days, drive safely kisses, and many others. She still blows a kiss, but she has shortened her routine to offer us “a case of everything,” meaning every type of kiss. So sweet!
2. Table Talk
Add a little pizzazz to your family dinner with a nightly question or discussion. Here are a few ideas:
- Tell the best and worst part of your day.
- Make a jar of questions and pick one each night. (How Does She? has some lists to get you started.)
- Play I’m thinking of an animal… or 20 questions
- Talk about what you are thankful for that day.
- Give each other compliments.
3. Caring Collection
Everyone loves to feel acknowledged and appreciated. Set-up a jar, journal, index card file, or poster to keep track of the kind and generous things you do for one another. Older siblings and parents can write down the younger kids thoughts, too.
Read these positive words together on a regular basis. Or, save them up and have fun looking through and choosing favorites on New Year’s Eve.
4. Family Song
We’re not the only family that dances around the kitchen to make the clean-up go faster, right? Gather everyone’s input and decide on a family song.
Play this song when you clean-up together or when someone in the family could use a pick-me-up. Play it as you pull out of the driveway and head out on a family vacation.
Play it enough that the whole family can sing it together – even without the music. Sing-along and dance together!
5. Group Hug
Group hugs are silly and sometimes squishy – which is part of the fun! At any random moment, any member of the family can yell “group hug!” Better yet, come up with a secret code word for your group hug call-outs like “banana split!” or “purple peacock!”
Now, it’s your turn to share! What are your quick and simple five-minute family traditions?