Family Rituals & Traditions
The term 'family ritual' means a family custom/tradition that develops over time and can be passed down from one generation to the next. Of course, you could be thinking about some traditions in your own family that were a real drag! And some of you may have great memories of specific customs that you shared with your family as a child, and may continue to do so. Others may not have such memories. What is important to you and your baby is that you can begin to enjoy spending special time together, developing your own family rituals.
This special time can begin with Baby's bedtime at night (discussed in Caregiving Routines). It's one of the first activities that you can build on which will have repeated consistency; it can be as simple as singing a special bedtime song. As Baby develops so too will the ritual activities associated with bedtime that can continue for many years, including reading and telling bedtime stories. These stories can be from favourite books, or can 'grow' from your creativity by making them up. By the time my children were toddlers they knew if I was skipping a page in their favourite bedtime stories as a ploy to fasten up the process. I admit, sometimes I was just so tired at the end of the day I felt like I needed the story read to me and for my boys to tuck me into bed!
Note: Research on modern family life shows that children develop a sense of security, warmth and belongingness from sharing repeated enjoyable activities over time with parents and other valued family members - the establishment of family rituals.
As Baby grows you will include other events that will become family rituals. As an example, one of ours was Friday night 'pizza night' whether it was a take-away or homemade which began when the boys were very young. Over the years we finally reached the stage where we decided that making our own pizzas was far more satisfying than a take-away. So when friends came over on Friday nights, they all knew that they were in for making their own 'signature' pizza created and cooked to their liking. BUT, on Friday nights when the boys were in their last years of school they started part-time jobs ... at take-away pizza cafes!