home rituals

>> Monday, June 8, 2009

When I was a kid, I loved Sundays. We always had dinner for lunch and lunch for dinner. My sister and I loved the Swiss cheese sandwiches my dad would make at night. We thought it was so cool to be doing things backwards. After the sandwiches, we would take our baths and get our long, long hair combed out.

Now that I am a parent, I think about home rituals for my own kids. I have created some new rituals and continued some from when I grew up. I think home rituals are the conscious creation of lifetime memories for kids.

What rituals do you remember having growing up?

I observed (read: spied on) my friends and family and come up with 8 home rituals that create lifetime memories: I bet you will be pleasantly surprised at how many rituals you are already doing.

1. Vacations in the Car

Everyone tries it at least once. It's the loong car ride to some vacation destination. My favorite story is of a friend who kept threatening to throw his little sister's toy out the window. Closer and closer the toy got, until the wind grabbed it and out it went on Route 66. His parents were really mad and made him ride up front with them until they got to their cabin.

2. Breakfast on the Weekends

Pancakes, anyone? My DH's family used to make a different egg dish every weekend. The result: high cholesterol, but an infinite amount of recipes, which are now served without the yoke, thankyouverymuch.

3. Dinners

My friends go out for pizza every Friday night. The place they go to is the same place my friend went to when he was a kid. It's a continued home ritual for him. The kids get to have pop and everyone's happy. They will remember that.

4. Going to Bed

Reading books has been a well-known ritual for many families. It calms kids, facilitates bonding and is academic. Win-win-win!

5. Birthdays

Many of my friends give their baby his/her own personal cake on the high chair tray. Lots of pics later, some of the cake is eaten and memories are born.

6. Activities/Sports/Performances

Probably my favorite home ritual is from a divorced family. Yes, even divorced parents can have home rituals. My friend and her ex, usually both attend school activities, sports games and other recitals, etc. Those kids will remember they really were more important than the issues their parents have with each other.

7. Funny: cleaning kid's rooms

A certain in-law of mine has used a garden rake in his son's room, every few months for years in an attempt to clean it out. A funny childhood memory, for sure, and future training in farming?

8. Homework

Remember long hours of algebra homework with your dad? Nowadays most of my relatives hire a tutor for the trickiest subject: math. It may not technically be a "home" ritual, but it can be something kids remember. Now before anyone gets all "when I was kid" on me, know that hiring a tutor, at least for my relations, is the most peaceful way math gets done at night. I believe the kids are doing better in math now that there's no yelling involved.

Do you have any home rituals in your life? What kind? Please comment below, I'd love to hear all about them!