Today is the day to start a new tradition. There is a direct correlation between the fun, the quality, the depth of relationships in a close family and the uniqueness and frequency of that family’s traditions.
When families intentionally develop “their ways” of being a family early on, they tend to experience greater levels of family health and bonding. I have observed this over the years with countless stand-out families and have adopted much of what I have learned from others over the years. I am in no way an expert, just a guy who is incredibly passionate about serving and leading a solid and loving family.
10 Traditions to Create More Family Connection
1. Family dinners. Fight for them! This may mean saying no to that second or third extracurricular activity that one of your kids wants to be involved with. The dinner table is where most families experience relationship, and too many are giving this tradition away to the third sport or worse yet, to dinner with the TV on.
2. Playing “Low-High” at dinner. All members of the family share their low of the day and their high. All focus in and listen. Ban phones from the dinner table as well.
3. Annual camping trips or vacations to the same place. Families come to really connect when out of their norm but still at their outdoor home away from home.
4. Weekly or Monthly dates. This is essential for healthy marriages and wonderful to really connect with your kids. My wife Sheri and I spoke to a group of young married couples last month and one gal asked what they should do if they don’t have the money for nice dates. We told her some of our best dates are picnics on the river or the beach. It’s not about where you go, it’s about going! Sheri and I have really enjoyed Monday lunch dates as well. And date your kids, too. Take them where they want to go, not where you want to go. These can be some really special times that your kids will never forget.
5. Saying “I love you” whenever you leave. I know many of you do this but some do not. Don’t just assume they know. Make sure they always know.
6. Floating Birthdays and Anniversaries. We have never worked on our family members’ birthdays or our anniversary. We focus on the birthday person all day long. This means we float from place to place as the celebrated one chooses. We were all together yesterday for my daughter’s 21st and it was a blast! The same goes for anniversaries. I believe this day to be one of the most sacred of the year.
7. Man Cook. I had a client for years and learned this one from him. He and his son would cook one meal per week for the ladies in their family. He shared some great stories and memories that came from this.
8. Saturday Donuts. One of my colleagues here at Building Champions took his daughter for a donut date every Saturday. This was a great time for the two of them to connect weekly.
9. SHMILY notes. I read a great story of a couple that always left love notes for each other in all sorts of inconspicuous places. We have been doing this for years and I love finding these little notes tucked in my clothes when I travel. SHMILY: See How Much I Love You.
10. Pray together. I believe in prayer and think it is one of the most valuable things I can do with my family. So for us Harks, this means me praying with my bride and kids daily.
What are some of the traditions that make your family unique?