Research suggests that adults and children function well when there is a certain level of routine in their lives. We are naturally drawn to developing close relationships with other humans and we embrace companionship in all its forms. This begins with family. Creating family rituals provides a level of security, comfort and routine that has lasting benefits.
Family rituals don’t have to be elaborate, involve large expenses or grand gestures, and most importantly, they don’t have to take up too much of our time. They can be as simple as watching a favourite television show together each week, or having spaghetti bolognaise for dinner every Monday night. A sense of belonging and a special bond is created, particularly when you involve children and give them a small role in your rituals.
What are your family rituals? Are there any that you have always wanted to put in place but haven’t had the chance?
Here are some ideas to get your family rituals started…
- A particular meal for a particular day of the week. Whether it is scrambled eggs on toast after sports training, spaghetti bolognaise, or your favourite roast dinner. A favourite family meal on the same night each week can be a simple yet effective family ritual.
- Coffee on Sunday mornings. Involve the children as well, with an appropriate alternative, but take the time to stop and share a cuppa as a family. Weekdays for most families are fairly hectic, so it’s important to take some time out together on the weekend, even if it is only for five minutes.
- Eating together at the dinner table. Time to turn off all electrical devices, no phones at the table, no background television noise. Sitting at the table together and sharing a meal gives families valuable time to communicate with each other, and share in each others lives.
- Celebrating Birthdays. Birthdays are a very special time and a great way to incorporate a family ritual. Being woken up with a favourite colour balloon for each family member, or having to wear a party hat at dinner, whatever your ritual is make sure you include it on every birthday that is celebrated in your house!
- The power of words. How often do you greet someone during the day? For most of us, it is a common event but have we forgotten to do these things in the home! Saying goodnight and greeting family members in the morning is an important ritual to try and incorporate into your family. There are times in your life where this may be particularly difficult (e.g. teenagers who tend to stay in their rooms, or come home at odd hours). Where possible, make sure these basic pleasantries remain in your house. Tell your children every day that you love them, encourage them to express their feelings towards other family members. Incorporating individual words special to your family is a great way to get this simple ritual started.
- Family Meetings. Gather everyone together, bang a makeshift gavel to declare the meeting open and note the time, and let each member of your family have their say. Whether you are planning a weekend where everyone is heading in a different direction, or deciding what to have for dinner on a Friday night, a family meeting is a fun, interactive family ritual that takes no time at all.
Need help with improving your family relationships?
Whether you are referring clients or seeking help for yourself, Tatum McGregor, our psychologist in Brisbane, can help. Contact Scope Clinical Services on (07) 3162 8448 to find out more.