The holiday season is the perfect time for creating traditions and rituals that bring the focus on family togetherness and thinking of others. Regardless of background or culture, this season offers many opportunities to create memories that will last a lifetime and positively benefit your child’s development.
The Importance of Traditions and Rituals
A ritual or tradition is anything big or small that families perform together deliberately and with a special emphasis that elevates it above the ordinary. Where routines are instrumental and a part of every day, rituals are the things a family wants to do. Children delight in and look forward to them; in fact, child development experts agree that traditions and rituals are associated with positive social, emotional, language, and academic growth. Naturally occurring family routines and meaningful rituals provide a predictable structure that guides behavior and an emotional climate that supports early development. They help create a closeness to family and memories you will look back on for a lifetime.
Establishing Traditions and Rituals
Establishing a tradition or ritual can be simple. In fact, they often happen organically and spontaneously. Here are some ideas you might consider this season.
Creating gifts or decorations from hand with your child provides a special time together. Making cards to send to family, ornaments to put on the tree, or decorations in your home show your child how they can contribute to the special time of year.
Baking and feasting
The energy and love we put into preparing food is a historical way of showing you care. Perhaps this time of year, your family might bake or prepare a special dish you don’t normally do. In my family, it is Kringla, a Norwegian pastry with almond flavoring that came with my ancestors when they settled in the Midwest. Sharing meals with family and friends is a ritual that can mark the importance of others in our lives.
Sharing, collecting, and donating
Sharing and giving help children to understand that this time of year is about more than receiving. It’s being grateful for what we have and sharing what we can. In that same category collecting things for donations to those with less gives them an appreciation and empathy for those who may be going through a rough time.
Singing and Reading
Perhaps the easiest and simplest thing to do is sing special songs during the holidays and read special books or passages. Combining our voices in joy and peace brings a connection. Getting cozy with a special book highlights the power of words and is a gift in itself.
Rituals and traditions can change over the years. There will be traditions that will last no matter what and traditions that will need to adapt to the time and place. It is the love and importance that you give to these traditions and rituals that will last a lifetime for your children.
About Hala Kahiki
Designed for children 18 months – 6 years, Hala Kahiki is the first and only authentic Montessori school on Lāna’i. Under the guiding influence of specially trained teachers, children work with multi-sensorial materials to help them learn to think critically and become well-rounded global citizens. We would love to partner with you to give your children the best-possible early childhood education; please let us know how we can help you achieve your goals for your child.