Traditions and Memories

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All families have traditions. Maybe it’s Friday night pizza or baking Christmas cookies on Christmas Eve. Are these traditions important? If so, why are they important for our kids’ connection to us?

Traditions play a crucial role in the lives of our children, becoming anchors for what to expect in their weekly or monthly lives. Looking forward to pizza night is a real thing for kids. As adults, we may not be looking forward to pizza again but it links the kids to us and to the fun we have together. Knowing dad is going to do school pick up on Fridays is a fun treat and links the child to something fun with that person. Seasonal traditions, such as going to a Pumpkin Patch in October or an egg hunt around Easter are anchors, as well.

Outings or activities that are repeated, therefore becoming traditions, are more likely to be remembered and these memories give our kids a sense of family and connection. My oldest two children are now 17 and 14. There are many fun things that we have done over the years that they simply don’t remember. Luckily, I have pictures to show that we did take them to Disney and visit the aquarium! However, these same teenagers remember going to the pumpkin patch, picking blueberries and beach vacations, probably because we did those things every year. The memory of those traditions is strong and vivid in their minds giving them a sense of connection to their family.

So, do you have to maintain the same traditions forever?  Of course not! In all honesty, we haven’t been to a pumpkin patch since 2013.

My younger kids are 11, 7 and 2. the 11-year-old does remember but it was never one of his favorite things. My 7-year-old struggles with walking long distances (she has fibular hemimelia and wears a prosthetic leg) so at age 4 and 5 we just didn’t want to do an activity that seemed too hard for her.  Then I considered it for last year but her class went on a pumpkin patch field trip so there was no reason to do it again. It’s ok for your traditions to change as your kids grow. We still bake cookies on Christmas Eve for Santa but last year one of my teens chose not to participate. That’s ok.

Traditions can be flexible – it’s ok for them to shift and morph over the years! We watch Polar Express each year during the holiday season. One year the weather here was in the 70’s so I purchased Yoohoo chocolate drinks to have instead of hot chocolate. The kids loved that and Yoohoo with Polar Express became our new tradition, regardless of the weather! So, keep your traditions but don’t be afraid to let them die or modify them when needed.

Just remember that your family traditions are most likely the pegs that your children’s memories will be hung from as they leave your home and venture into adulthood. Make them full of love and play!

Play. Connect. Love.









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