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  • Writer's picturePaula Robertson

The magic of family rituals

Tapping into the power of rituals that define who you are as a family.

In this digital age, it’s increasingly easy for family members to exist in their own silos, each one head down and absorbed in their personal device or tech. However, what is lost is a sense of real connection within the family unit. This is why having family rituals is so important. But what are they?

Rituals and traditions are shared special activities that are done on a consistent basis. They can build a sense of connection, identity, safety and belonging. Unlike routines, which communicate things that need to be done, rituals are about identity or who you are as a family. Here are some reasons why family rituals are so vital:

Connection: Family rituals provide opportunities for family members to connect with each other on a deeper level. Whether it's a weekly family dinner, game night, or holiday celebration, these rituals allow family members to spend quality time together, communicate, and build emotional connections. They create a sense of belonging and reinforce the idea that family is a safe and supportive place.

Identity: Family rituals help establish and maintain a family's unique identity and heritage. They can pass down traditions, values, and beliefs from one generation to the next. Rituals such as celebrating religious holidays, cultural festivals, or even personal traditions like an annual vacation or a special birthday celebration, contribute to a family's shared history.

Stability: In a rapidly changing world, family rituals provide stability and a sense of security by establishing familiar patterns. Regularly engaging in rituals creates a sense of structure and consistency, which can help reduce stress and anxiety during uncertain times.

Emotional Well-being: Family rituals often involve expressions of love, affection, and support. These rituals provide opportunities for family members to show appreciation, develop a sense of togetherness, and build stronger emotional connections. Rituals such as bedtime stories, family traditions on special occasions, or even everyday routines like family meals or shared activities help to promote a sense of emotional well-being and a positive family environment.

Communication and Values: Family rituals offer platforms for communication and the transmission of values. They provide a space for family members to share their thoughts, experiences, and stories, and can be used to teach and reinforce important values like respect, empathy, kindness, and cooperation. For example, a ritual of discussing the day's events during dinner can promote open communication.

Creating Memories: Family rituals create lasting memories that family members can cherish throughout their lives. These shared experiences become a part of the family's narrative and history. Whether it's a yearly holiday tradition, a family game night, or a summer vacation, rituals provide opportunities for families to create special moments together and build a treasure chest of positive memories.

Overall, family rituals play a vital role in fostering a sense of belonging, unity, and emotional well-being within the family unit. They contribute to the overall strength and resilience of the family by providing stability, nurturing relationships, and creating a sense of identity and tradition.

I recently came across some lovely family ritual ideas and have listed some here. I hope they inspire you to create some family rituals of your own!

Try something new every month. Examples could be trying out a different recipe at least once a month. At home, my family have recently started experimenting with the idea of a monthly local Street Food Tour!

Make regular meaningful time together as a family when you can enjoy each other’s company, like an outing, bike ride, Family Games Night or Movie Night.

Volunteer together. For example, you could volunteer as a family at a local animal shelter or a beach cleanup drive.

Come up with a family motto, silly cheer or special celebration that you can use during team activities like Games Nights.

Encourage sharing and learning over mealtimes by asking open ended questions (‘What was a challenge you faced today?’ or ‘What was something that made you laugh?’)

As children get older or family circumstances change, you may need to create new rituals and let go of the old ones, but that’s okay…it can be fun to create them together as a family! What rituals will you bring to life or continue for your family?

Be well, Paula

Dr Paula Robertson is a busy mom and a paediatrician with over twenty years' experience working with young people and their families. She is also a certified children's mindfulness teacher and Positive Discipline Parenting coach. You can find out more at

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