My Family Rules! 5 Rituals To Establish a Close Knit Family
I love how close my family is. I have two younger sisters and we’re always there for each other and support each other every chance we get. This is what I wish for my two boys, a close relationship with each other and with my husband and me. We actively work on developing routines and habits for our family and although our two boys are still very young what better time to start than now?
I have found over the past year and a half that consistency, predictability and simplicity have been key with my eldest son. With that in mind, we have begun to establish rituals, or rules, that we hope will make our family closer today and into the future. Here are 5 family rules that we have implemented so far.
1. Family dinners.
Every night we sit down at the table and have dinner together as a family (with no TV). I think this is one of the easiest and most important ritual to have as a family. Eating meals as a family brings everyone together, creates a sense of belonging, allows you to work on table manners, and it promotes talking which also improves communication skills. Keeping it light and positive will add to the enjoyment for everyone.
2. Family meetings.
My husband and I started having family meetings every Sunday evening. These meetings give us a chance to re-group and discuss things that were done in the past week that either annoyed us or that we were grateful for. We find that open and honest communication does wonders for our relationship and we want to instill this in our two boys as well.
3. Limit solitary activities.
While yes it is important to have some alone time to recharge or have a break, too much alone time can cause alienation and disconnect from your kids. Limit activities that kids do on their own and substitute with activities you can do as a family. In the spirit of setting up family rituals from day one, we enrolled our eldest son in swimming lessons when he was 6 months old. My husband would take him in the water and I would sit on the side lines watching, cheering and oozing with pride. I loved watching my little one experience the pool for the first time and it really set the tone for how we would like our family to share experiences in the future.
4. Night time routine.
We established a night time routine very early on for our first son and we still use it (now with two little ones). It wasn’t always smooth sailing but now we are very fortunate to have babies who love their sleep. Napping isn’t usually a struggle and neither is bedtime. As I said earlier, kids thrive on consistency, predictability and simplicity. Our bed time routine is simple and includes every member of our family. After dinner we usually have a play with the two boys (our eldest is really into wrestling on the floor). 7:00pm is bath time, 7:30 it’s pj’s and milk, 7:50pm it’s into bed, we read a story and then it’s lights out by 8pm. This routine works really well for us and now the kids have learned to expect it and count on it to get them in sleep mode.
5. Clean up.
Cleaning up is a family affair. After dinner we both pitch in and clean up the kitchen and clear off the table. After the kids are in bed and down for the night we do a quick sweep of the play areas to “reset” for the next day. It helps to not step on hard plastic or wooden toys and waking up to a clean and tidy home is something I LOVE. When the boys are old enough they won’t be getting off scot-free either they will have their duties and responsibilities to help clean up with the rest of us. They will feel like they are contributing to the upkeep of the family home and it will also teach them not to take things for granted.
These are 5 rules that we have implemented in our home that have helped us become a very tight knit family already. Granted a lot of what I’ve mentioned here will change as the kids grow but the general sentiment will certainly be the same. I believe that each person needs to feel that they belong and are a valued member of the family. I also feel it’s important for kids to be allowed to have a voice, express opinions and to be heard. Leading by example and setting good family values will benefit your family for life.
Do you have family rituals or rules that help bring your family together? What are they? Do you think they’re important? Is it ever too late to start?
Photo courtesy of: lepiaf.geo