Every summer my kids look forward to going to our favourite “secret” beach. It’s just outside of town and a bit of a hike in, but so worth it. Perfect water temps, floating logs to play on, a tiny island to swim to . . . doesn’t get much better. And because of the short hike, it’s not super busy. We always reminisce on when the kids were younger and baby brother would nap in the sling in the Chariot bike trailer, or about how many baby toads they saw crossing the path.
Traditions aren’t just for Christmas – anything you do with your family to create lifelong memories and add rhythm to your days, can become a tradition. Like our annual camping trip on Canada Day long weekend. It’s full of friends, s’mores, swimming, and biking around the campground looking for bunnies. My kids look forward to it every year.
So what do you do if you don’t already have many family traditions? Start them on your own, of course! It’s never too late, and it will help create a feeling of harmony, warmth and closeness with your family. Plus, it teaches values, brings a sense of belonging and offers comfort and security to children. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:
Plan an annual family picnic complete with all your favourite summer treats such as watermelon, lemonade, cold chicken, fresh veggies and salads. Keep it portable to take to a local park or have it in your backyard and grill up hot dogs and burgers for all.
Start an annual birthday tradition where the birthday boy or girl gets to choose their favourite meal and cake on their special day. Take it further by making the same special meal or treat for them every year.
Set time aside for family cuddles. It can be 15 minutes in mom and dad’s bed every Sunday morning or half an hour reading in a big, comfy chair together every evening.
Look to your ancestors for ideas. Make your Italian Nonna’s chicken soup on cold rainy days; pull out Grampa’s recipe for homemade dill pickles to make on a summer day; or get the kids in the kitchen to whip up a batch of Auntie’s famous refrigerator bars.
Have daily rituals such as eating dinner together every evening. If that’s not possible on a particular day, make it smoothies around the breakfast nook instead. See also: Family Routines for Meals and Chores Reduce Family Stress
By Kristen Wint