Did you have any special family traditions as a child? Or special traditions that you try to keep with your little ones? Our littles are still pretty young (six and almost two) but even now when they are small, I want to create a loving, life-giving home that they can look back on with fondness and joy. I want them to be able to say “I remember when I was little that we always took time to eat together for dinner as a family” or “I love how mom and dad always made Friday nights fun by making sure we had a special dessert or movie to share“.
Life is crazy busy and it can be so hard to intentionally carve out family time. But with the little ones, I’ve found that it doesn’t have to be a huge thing. Even small gestures of love can make the biggest difference in their little hearts. So today I’m sharing three family traditions that you can start right now to create lasting impact in even the littlest hearts.
Create a Nightly Bedtime Routine
This is something that we have been doing almost nightly since our oldest was born. Our routine goes a little like this; after teeth are brushed and jammies are on, the kids get to take turns choosing the bedtime story for the night. Together we sing Jesus Loves Me; Max is a little shy to sing aloud but Livy loves joining in with her cute little “Jesus...Me...I know!” (to be honest, I’ll be kinda sad when she learns all the words). We take time to thank God for His blessings and pray for any special requests that we might have. Even little things, like being thankful it stopped raining or prayers for their friend who is sick strengthens their little relationships with God. After prayers, hugs and kisses are given and everyone is off to their to bed for the night (fingers crossed).
Plan Friday Night Movie Nights
After a long week at work, sometimes it's just nice to relax and reconnect. How fun would it be to build anticipation all week long looking forward to the newest DVD (or Netflix) that was just released, or maybe it’s an older family classic; I was honestly surprised at just how much my 6-year-old loves watching the movies that mom and dad grew up with. Maybe you go all out and spend the afternoon making a special dessert, or maybe you just order pizza and throw a blanket on the living room floor for an indoor picnic (we call them pizza picnics). No matter how simple or crazy you get with it; you are making memories that they will love forever.
Plant a Family Garden
So maybe you can’t start this one today, but even a small backyard garden is so much fun. Last year was our first and we LOVED growing and enjoying the food that we worked so hard on cultivating throughout the year. We loved giving Max something to work hard on that didn’t necessarily come with immediate rewards and watering our little garden every day was the perfect thing for him. At five years old he learned a lot of patience when he had to water his peach trees every day but had to wait months for even one taste. When things finally started growing, he would get so excited to report on the size of his biggest watermelon and how many peaches were on his trees. We just replanted this past weekend and this year we added a cherry tree and some flowers too. It is so rewarding to eat a cobbler made from fresh peaches or enjoy nice cool watermelon after months of patience and care.
It can sometimes be daunting to think about creating traditions. Parenting is exhausting and there are days when I struggle to think of anything past what to make for dinner. Even in the hardest mama moments, when you're tired and feeling as if you will never get past the potty training days or sleepless nights; just love your littles, that is what they need from you the most. Traditions are a fun way to love your little but don’t forget to give yourself grace. Because you’re doing great mama.