Routine is part of all of our lives. Whether it is a cup of coffee every morning before work, a daily jog through the neighborhood, or watching a favorite TV show in the evening, we all develop patterns that create consistency in our day-to-day lives. Simple routines make our lives predictable and stable. Furthermore, rituals provide us with a sense of belonging and connection to others. Family rituals are consistent over time, but not necessarily part of the family routine. Rituals can include birthdays, religious celebrations, and other family traditions.
Children specifically thrive on routines and rituals. Creating structure through daily routines can be integral to a child’s development. In fact, the research shows that simple routines like mealtime and reading improve language development, academic skill development, and social skill development in children. Family rituals foster emotional development and trust as children grow and develop. Rituals strengthen the family identity and deepen relationships within the system.
Creating family routines and rituals can be simple, quick, and fun! Here are some routines and rituals you can try incorporating into your family:
Reading time: Spend 15 minutes each night reading with your child before bedtime.
Mealtime: Make an effort to eat as a family (without electronics!) a few nights a week.
Birthday Celebrations: Create birthday traditions that are unique to you and your family.
Family Vacations: Spend time away from work and school as a family.
Weekend Outings: Spend time together outdoors in the backyard or at a local park.
Family Game Night: Connect with your family once a week through laughter and games!
Every family will not enjoy the same routines and rituals. It is important to find what fits the personality of you and your family!
A leading researcher in this field is Barbara H. Fiese. You can find more information and research on this topic here.