When most people think about family traditions, they conjure up images of Christmas cookies and pumpkin pie. While tasty treats are certainly a part of many families’ traditions, there’s far more to it than that. Family traditions are an essential part of any family unit because they help to create a sense of shared history and identity. They can also provide a sense of stability and continuity in otherwise unpredictable lives. If you’re looking for ways to strengthen your family bond, consider starting or reinforcing some family traditions.
Family Traditions Don’t Have to Be The Same for All Families
Family traditions help you create lifelong memories as a family. You can create family traditions specific to your family interest. The sooner you establish them, the more time you have to solidify and enjoy them.
Creating family traditions doesn’t have to be complicated, time-consuming or expensive. When creating family traditions, think about what you loved to do growing up and what you wish you did more of. You can instil a combination of your favourites from childhood and new ones unique to your family. You can also modify any tradition into something that works better for you.
Sometimes, traditions come about so naturally that we don’t realise we always had it in place. For example, in my family, every time we finish a sports competition, we go to our favourite restaurant to celebrate our effort. This is a great way to take our minds somewhere else when we lose or to commemorate when we win.
Before I share some family tradition ideas with you, let’s talk about why they are so important.
Why family traditions are essential to family
Shared experiences can be like glue for your family, allowing you to foster love during holidays, seasonal traditions, or celebrating family culture. These experiences help you and your kids stick together over the years.
Sense of Security and Belonging
By creating rituals and traditions, your kids feel a greater sense of being a part of your unique family. It can give them the confidence that they have a “home” in this world, no matter where they are.
Opportunity to Pass on Family Values
Whether it’s volunteering together, enjoying nature, or exercising, you can share strong family values for a lifetime.
Connection to Family History and Heritage
Many family traditions are rooted in previous generations and may include food, music, festivities, and more. When you form family traditions that stem from your past, your children feel more connected to where they came from. For example, our kids carry my maiden name as their middle name as this is a tradition in Brazil (where I was born).
Traditions give children an insight into their heritage, culture, or religious background.
There’s no doubt that family traditions are a great way to build beautiful moments that last a lifetime. The memories you make with your children help shape them and give them a childhood that they can look back on fondly.
Fun and Excitement
Having family traditions to look forward to throughout the year adds a lot of enthusiasm and fun to your family life. Your kids will look forward to moments that are special and unique to your family culture.
The best family traditions are the ones that bring the family together. Enjoyable moments are more likely to create an impact on the family and make a tradition last.
However, traditions don’t need to be set in stone. As your family grows and evolves, you can change or adapt your traditions to your needs.
35 ideas for family traditions you can start ASAP
Dance Party: Turn your house chores into a dance party. Turn up the music and get your groove on.
Movie night: Friday nights are a great time to kick back together after the week and enjoy popcorn as you watch a movie. Rotate who gets to pick each week.
Pizza or taco night: Make homemade pizzas or tacos once a week (it’ll be a meal you all look forward to!). Include a range of toppings so everyone can choose something they like. Kids love feeling encharged of what goes on in their meals.
Handshake: Create a family handshake. It can be a minimalist move that nobody will notice or as extravagant and silly as you would like.
Family meetings: Gather in the living room or around the dining table to discuss family matters. Talk about what’s working well, what needs improvement, and any exciting plans. A quick weekly meeting is a great way to stay connected and ensure everyone’s voice is heard.
Game night: Pull out a favourite like Sequence or Connect 4 to form a family custom of playing, laughing, and strategising together.
Gratitude Jar: Spend time once a week asking everyone to name one thing they’re grateful for. Bonus points if everyone writes down their item and adds it to a Gratitude Jar. At the end of the year, you’ll have a bin full of good vibes and memories.
Healthy Walks: A stroll around the neighbourhood together allows you to stretch your legs, get fresh air, and share stories from your week.
Reading time: From bedtime stories to Saturday morning snuggles, books are a great way for the family to come together, learn, and enjoy a good tale.
Meditation: Clear your headspace by meditating as a family. Use the Superpower Kids Mindfulness Book to guide you.
Seasonal Family Traditions
Camping trip: Pack the tent and sleeping bags for a wilderness excursion. Camping or caravaning the same site every year or venturing to a new spot each summer is a great way to feel adventurous.
Bike adventure: Take a long bike ride on a trail to get ice cream or see the lake.
Fishing or hunting trip: Head out to catch dinner or find some deer — these wildlife skills will serve your kids throughout their lives.
Fruit picking: From apples to blueberries, choose a favourite fruit to go gather every year as a family. The fresh air and produce will be a treat for all.
Hiking the great outdoors: Head out on the trail to explore a National Park or local nature preserve. Exercise and exploration are great family bonding experiences.
Plant a garden: Ask everyone in the family what they’d like to grow. From fresh herbs to vegetables to fruits, your little ones will enjoy watching everything blossom. And they are more likely to eat the produce they help grow.
Trip to a favourite spot: Whether it’s a water park or beach, choose a place to visit every year. Be sure to snap photos in the same spot and compare them as the years go on!
Road trip: Hop in the car to visit cousins or family friends. The journey is bound to be an adventure you and your kids won’t forget.
Last day of school: Celebrate the last day of the school year with something special. Ice cream always works for us. My daughter and I also like going to a Mum and Me spa to destress and recharge.
Measurements: Measure your kids’ height and record it on a wall or doorframe.
Cake: Enjoy baking and decorating birthday cakes with your child. Let them be part of the process by choosing a theme, colour or decorations. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t look like the ones you can buy from a cake shop. They will love it anyway.
Letter: Write every member of the family a letter to show your appreciation for them. Highlight how much they have grown and changed in a year.
Birthday interviews: Pull out your phone and video your kids at each age. Once they’re old enough to talk, ask them a few questions and record their answers. You’ll have fun looking back on your videos in years to come. You can find an interview activity in our Back to School printable.
Countdown: Hangs a paper chain with 12 links before someone’s birthday. Then, each day, remove a link, and every family member says something nice or shares a memory about the birthday celebrant.
Cooking together: Have a favourite dish for Christmas or New Year’s Eve? Your kiddos can help — plus, it’ll make them feel more involved and a part of the celebration.
Decorating for the season: Family Christmas traditions like decorating the tree or hanging lights are beautiful ways to prepare for the holiday season. But it’s not just Christmas; you can decorate your home for Kwanzaa, Chinese New Year, Juneteenth, Halloween or any other season you like and is special for you.
Baking: Get in the kitchen with your child to make holiday treats.
Gift exchanges: From gifting your kids matching pyjamas or secret Santa, gifts can be a part of your family’s holiday traditions. You can also create a sense of community by gifting to a family in need.
Special festivities: Easter egg hunts and pumpkin carving for Halloween are two family customs that can become traditions.
Holiday performances: Attend The Nutcracker or a Christmas concert each year and enjoy the production as a family. Stick around to meet the crew or thank the stagehands.
Miscellaneous Family Traditions
Parent-kid dates: Enjoy quality time one by one. Take out one of your children each month and incorporate their favourite things, such as getting ice cream or going to the zoo. It’ll be a perfect time to make special memories with each kid.
Volunteering: Pick a community service project to do as a family every quarter or every year, such as helping at an animal shelter, picking up trash in the community, or packing food baskets at the soup kitchen.
Sporting events: Whether it’s going to opening day for your soccer team or watching a BMX show, choose an event you’d like to attend each year together.
Plays and musical productions: Check out a play or buy tickets to a local high school musical production.
Planet or moon watching: Keep an eye out for full moons and peek through a telescope to see the planets when they’re closer up.
It doesn’t matter what family traditions you choose for your family. However, it is more vital that you have them than what they are. The Superpower Kids MY Traditions worksheet can help you get started.