Thursday, 2 August 2012

How to Create Meaningful Family Rituals

You’re thinking “closet pagan”, right? Yet there’s no reason to connect rituals with religion of any kind. They are just plain good for family life, helping to add to the routine of the week, the month, the year, and bringing a sense of identity, continuity and security to all members of the family.

You probably have a number of family rituals without necessarily realising it. They can be as simple as “every Friday night we all watch a film together after tea” or as complex as the way you light the candles in the home-made Kwanzaa candleholder.

Get it on paper
If you have a household planner, this is a brilliant way of keeping track of dates you celebrate, and the way you do it, as well as your weekly routines. The IHeartOrganizing Personalized Household binder highlights the identity of the family even more by featuring the families’ names on the cover and on the planner pages. This rainbow-coloured and comprehensive printable kit – plus the option to have it so stylishly personalised, with a choice of cover designs too - is a great way of stating “this is the way we do things in our household”. Getting your children involved in filling in the sheets planning vacations, preparing for Christmas shopping or committing to regular time as a family each week will cement their feeling of belonging in the family and having a genuine part to play. Plus, when your weekly one-hour walk together or seasonal Spring-cleaning weekend is down on paper, it is more likely to become a reality than just a good idea.

Act "American"
I come from a family which is not particularly well-known for its ability to celebrate so I have to muster up a fair amount of effort to be spontaneous and party-like. One way I do this is “pretend to be American” instead of my actual dour English self and create the “team Bayne” attitude. When the King is off to another gruelling day at the workshop, we do “American things” like high-fives after breakfast, (please take this as a compliment, American readers) saying our names, touching hands (like in Thundercats) and yelling “Teeeeaaaam BAYNE!” before the King leaves the house. I am thinking about reinforcing the Team Bayne spirit by making some kind of banner or shabby chic plaque for our living room wall. There are some brilliant ideas in Meg Cox’s The Book of New Family Traditions. Yes, we’ll be creating our own heraldic coat of arms, next.

Go Back to the 1940s
A ritual that comes more easily to me is the Bucket Bath. This is probably because it stems from one of my favourite childhood books, “Danny the Champion of the World”, and is make-do and mend-ish in its attitude. Bucket bath takes place each Sunday night. The other nights Prima and Secundus have normal baths or showers but on Bucket Bath day, they take it in turns to have a wash standing up in a large bucket of warm water in front of the fire. Bucket Bath began one winter evening when the King was still painting the bathroom and the kids needed a wash. It has transformed into some kind of 1940s throw-back treat, and probably saves several gallons of warm water. After getting dried and putting their jamas on, we watch David Attenborough programmes on lovefilm or iplayer until it is bedtime. Miserly yet popular, Bucket Bath will no doubt continue until the children’s feet don’t fit in the bucket any longer, and then I will have no option but to get hold of the tin bath I have for some reason coveted for three decades.

No need to echo the drama of the London Olympics Opening Ceremony on a regular basis, but why not start creating some family traditions of your own?

3 comments:

  1. What would I like to see more of on Mumtopia? Ways to save time and money. And I like it when you write from the heart about family life.

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  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, I've set up a separate Giveaways page now so they will be even easier to find.

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