Now is the time to regroup and reset your family in new routines. So if it’s
coming together for family dinner, or having weekly together time, here’s
how successful families do it.
Studio 5 paid a visit to the Howell family in Lehi, and got swept up in their
unique family ritual: playing board games.
Find and follow Utah’s Board game family at:
For additional tips on creating successfully traditions, Studio 5 called in
family engineer, Heather Johnson, of The Family Volley. Her tips:
Why Family Rituals?
Family Rituals are essential to successful family life. They provide memories
and experiences that we always remember.
Family Rituals also provide Predictability. This is especially important for
children who feel more safe and secure when they know what to expect.
Predictability gives us something to look forward to.
Rituals provide Connection. By doing things together as families, we give
ourselves opportunities to connect with one another, get to know each other
better and share experiences. This connection then carries over to other
areas of family life.
Rituals give families and parents, a way to enact values. As families do things
together, opportunities present themselves for values and skills to be taught.
Most of us probably learned the value of “work” while involved in a family
ritual or tradition. Rituals are the prefect place to teach and then practice
Rituals also provide family members with a sense of identity. We all have the
need to feel like we belong, like we are understood, and that we are
accepted. Participation in family rituals builds a sense of identity among
family members. A sense of identity helps us feel safe, and accepted.
Where Can We Start?
Don’t let the thought of doing things together as a family, become
overwhelming. Family rituals don’t mean you have to make more money or
plan elaborate vacations and activities. Take a moment to look at the things
you and your families are already doing together. Maybe you eat dinner
together, or work together, or have a bedtime routine to put the kids to
sleep. Once you have pinpointed the things you are already doing together,
add meaning and make them a ritual.
For dinner, set a specific time, light some fun candles, and be prepared with
a few conversation starters to help with communication.
With bedtime, slow down and take a few minutes to laugh and read some
stories instead of rushing to get the kids in and the lights off.
Maybe your whole family is home every Sunday night. Instead of family
members doing individual activities in different parts of the house, designate
Sunday night as a time when you go visit friends, or invite a family over.
Maybe you make it “game night”, or “together time”. Have family members
come together to play, or talk, or even plan for the new week. Family
members will begin to look forward to this great time together and
appreciate the connection it creates.
What if I want to implement New Rituals with my Family?
Once you have made what you are already doing, more meaningful, look to
add new rituals to your family life. But where do you begin?
Take a piece of blank paper and divide it into two columns. At the top of one
column write NEEDS, the other column, write VALUES. Then fill in the
columns with any needs you think your family has. Do you need to improve
communication? Do you need to spend more time together, do you need to
have a more organized and clean home? What values does your family need
to learn, or work on; service, patience, control, kindness?
Once you have your list of needs and values for your family. Pick one or two
and come up with things your family can do that will fulfill the need and
teach the value. These are now your new family rituals. They have meaning;
they are planned, and coordinated.
It all comes down to being Intentional.
Imagine your family is sitting together in a canoe. If no one ever put his or
her paddles in the water, what would happen to your canoe? It would go
wherever the currents and winds took you. You could go the wrong direction,
flip over, become beached, hit a rock, or end up in the reeds.
The only way to get your canoe where you want it to go, is by putting your
paddles in the water and Intentionally directing your canoe on it’s course.
You have to have a working plan. And be Intentional about paddling your
family on that course.
Being Intentional is a key to family success. If our families are not Intentional
about where they want to go, and how they want to get there, the winds and
currents will blow and sway our families in all different directions. Busyness,
outside influences, being tired, and technology, just to name a few, are
things that can blow our families off course. As families, we need to create a
working plan, put our paddles in the water, and Intentionally paddle
ourselves where we want to go. We can do that by filling our families lives
with rituals; repeated activities that are filled with meaning and significance.
Here’s to a great New Year with our families — filled with lots of rituals and
great family memories.
Find more practical hints for family life at Heather’s blog: