Ideas for fun and memorable family traditions

familytraditionideas

My son is a creature of habit or traditions I might say. He has liked his routines since birth. He likes certainty and having his expectations met on an ordinary day. I, on the other hand, growing up with few family traditions, didn’t think much of any of this before noticing the value my son puts on these simple traditions we create as a family. He instilled the value of traditions in me and this makes me inclined to turn some of the rituals into traditions.

My daughter is not as particular about her routines however, I observe that both my kids get extremely excited when we are about to embark on one of our traditions, even as simple as our weekly Friday Pizza nights. I love it when they fondly reminisce every detail of a previous gatherings or visit of an annual tradition and I notice how vivid their memory is.

These traditions make up the DNA of a family. It’s our identity and signature. It helps our kids feel that they belong and our family is valued. These are the things I hope my kids will remember about their childhood with warmth in their heart when they are grown up.

Traditions provide certainty and comfort for kids. Especially if you have a child who loves their routines, traditions will make them even happier.

Traditions give children something to look forward to. Is it Friday yet? Where is my snow day hot chocolate?

Traditions make the times you spend together as a family more memorable. You might feel like you are repeating the same thing every Thursday or every first Sunday of the month or every road trip, but for children, it etches the memories even deeper in their hearts.

Daily Traditions

Morning hugs/snuggles: What’s better way than starting your day with big, warm bear hugs? Long weekend snuggles in parents’ bed are also our favorite. Unless kids declare that they want to get back to reading a page turner as soon as possible, we try to get as many hugs and kisses as possible.
Family mealtime: I inherited this from my mom. She wants everyone to sit and eat at the table at the same time. No one gets a pass to eat alone in their room or in front of the tv. We gather at the table at the same time, talk about our day, ty to answer kids’ riddles. Even if there are housework or homework to get back to meal time is marked as busy for a family time.
Mealtime thanks/blessings: Mealtime thanks is one of my favorite gratitude practices. We have a quick poem-like thanks that one of the kids repeat.
Bedtime books: I take special delight in reading books to my kids. Still to this day I try to make sure we have enough time to read a picture book before bedtime. Out current routine is my daughter reading a book while I brush and braid her hair so that it doesn’t get tangled.
Bedtime Stories: If you have a greater imagination like my husband, you can choose to make up your own personalized stories which kids love and look forward wondering what will their parent come up with this time? In our experience, the sillier, the better. 

Weekly Traditions

Special family dinner on a specific day: One of our longest established traditions is Friday family pizza nights. I make pizza from scratch and bake fresh. It’s a big part of my parent point earnings. If you have a favorite recipe or meal, make a day of the week a special meal day. It also takes a burden off of deciding what to cook that night.
Special breakfast on a weekend: I remember our Sunday mornings when I was a kid very well because of our simple tradition. A big special breakfast followed by my favorite cartoon on TV. Well, in my time there weren’t too many options at the time, and that made it even more special. As a grown up we might have not one too many cartoon options but we still look forward to it not only because of all the fun we will have but also for a special breakfast. You can make a special breakfast with special frittata, pancake or waffle. You can prep with by making your own homemade pre-packed waffle and pancake mix and not spend your whole morning scrambling for ingredients.
Movie Night: If you love movies, why not make an afternoon or a night a family movie night, complete with popcorns. Our favorites are children’s movies of our childhood.
Game Night: I don’t always play with my kids, but when I do it’s board games. Setting a day for a game night is definitely a sure way to have amazing family time. Our favorites are Rummikub, Beat the Parents and Clue.

School Traditions

First Day of School: I admit this is more for my of enjoyment and memories. Even though they whine and groan when I tell them to stand at the same place I take their photos every year, they love it when I put together their photos I’ve taken since Pre-K.
Last Day of School: Last day of school tradition can include special treats such as ice cream, a group trip to a nearby park or the beach if weather allows or water balloon fight. Thank the teachers and kick off to a great summer break.
Friday after school: We would like to kick off our weekends with a treat. After school on Fridays, we stop by our favorite café with friends and get our “usual”, which marks the beginning of the weekend.

Oh yes! It’s time for those finger licking s’mores. #yumyum #camping

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Vacation Traditions

Summer Camping: I am grateful we can afford to go on vacations where we can stay at hotels but nothing can’t beat the memories of summer camping with long sweaty hikes, chilly mornings in the sleeping bags, grilled hot dogs and s’mores.
Road trips: Day long or weekend road trips, getaways with bikes or nearby adventures accompanied by meal stops at a favorite restaurant (ours is Cracker & Barrel) are only a few ideas you can come up with. Possibilities are endless.
Family visits: If your family lives far away, family visits during holidays with overnights at grand families or cousins are the best memory makers. strong>Souvenirs: Some bring back the same type of souvenir from each destination they visit, such as a bottle of sand from a tropic destination, a mug, a fridge magnet etc. Every time you look of on your fridge you can remember “that time when you went to….”.

Holiday Traditions

Any holiday is an excuse to turn in into a family tradition.
Easter Egg Hunt: Easter egg hunt in the neighborhood on Easter Sunday.
Halloween: You can turn Halloween into a family affair by dressing up in matching outfits.
Thanksgiving: For us, Thanksgiving is a potluck. Everyone has their assigned dishes and our family and friends gets together, eats. Cousins and friends play.
Holiday Cookies: Our favorite holiday tradition is baking “gingerbread martial arts people cookies”. Cookies and gingerbread houses are delightful options. Having a traditional family recipe is even better. 
New Year’s Traditions:
New years games, reading notes from good things, great times jar, letting kids stay up, counting down to the new year, staying in our pajamas on the first day of the year all day are some of our favorite traditions.
Eid Celebration: Waking up on the morning of el-Eid, dressing up, celebrating Eid of elder ones and getting gifts are great ways to remember Eid celebrations for kids.

Special Days

Birthdays: A special date with the birthday kid, special cake on the day of the birthday, special present opening, interview with the birthday child are only a few of many ideas you can make this day even more special.
Mother’s / Father’s Day: Letting the parent sleep in, special breakfast for mom or dad in bed, family get together at a favorite restaurant, interview with the parent can make this day special for the family.

Weather Traditions

Snow Day: If the schools are closed on a snow day, why not turn it into a family tradition to build a snowman, have a snow fight and drink hot chocolate with marshmallows. Just expect your kids to pray for more snow days and get disappointed if it barely snows during winter.
Rainy Day: When kids were younger we would go out with our raincoats and rain boots and splash away in the puddles under the rain. This is not favored as much anymore.
Summer Garden start day: It’s always a family affair to till the soil, set up the garden and put in the seeds and seedlings on the first warm day after the last frost. Chickens scratch and peck around for worms, kids dig holes, fill with water and get muddy. It’s the blessing of all the fruits, vegetables and flowers that’ll grow in the garden that summer.

Miscellaneous Traditions

Date with Grandma/Grandpa: If you are one of the lucky ones to have grandmas and grandpas nearby, monthly or quarterly dates with them are a great way to make lasting connections. Kids will be spoiled as much as they want while you and your love one can have a date to yourself.
Time Lapse photo: I’m in charge of photography and photos in our family. I make albums and photo books. Keeping memories through photos is really important to me. Kids love to go through albums, remember the places we visited, old friends etc. We have been taking a candid selfie of four of us every year since my daughter is 6 months old. We don’t dress up or prepare. Taking a family photo every year to create time lapse photo is a fun way to make a lasting memory.

Do you have a favorite family tradition that you remember from your childhood? Do you continue that with your own children?

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