This post is all about creating family traditions. You will learn 3 simple ways to establish family traditions by reading seasonal picture books together. Let’s get into it!
It’s officially Fall, and with four major holidays between now and the end of the year, the “most magical time of the year” is coming up fast!
I don’t know about you but since becoming a mom, I want to mark the changing seasons with some kind of memorable experience for my kids so they will look back on their childhood years with fondness.
These types of traditions can be a great way to feel connected to your family and get your kids excited for what’s ahead.
You might be struggling to maintain a sense of togetherness now that kids are back in school, fall sports have begun, and everyone is running different directions.
The busier people are the more scattered family relationships can feel.
Establishing family traditions is a wonderful way to bond as a family unit and a new season is the perfect time to do just that!
If you’re looking for a simple way to connect with your kids and get some reading in, then creating a seasonal book collection may be just what you need. For some awesome books to start your collection, check out our Fall books post!
But first, let’s define exactly what family traditions really are and why they are so important.
WHAT ARE TRADITIONS
Traditions are important memories or experiences that provide family bonding opportunities and are repeated year to year.
All families have an innate culture, whether spoken or not. Family traditions help children create an identity and feel a sense of belonging.
As a kid, we had a lot of traditions that I looked forward to every year. When I think of them, I am filled with warmth and happiness, remembering how it felt to celebrate them.
now that I am an adult with my own family, I still miss and think about them during those special times of the year. Christmas is a particularly tradition-filled holiday as there are so many opportunities to establish traditions with your family.
Traditions don’t have to be centered around a holiday, although for many families they are.
Most of us do this unconsciously, such as taking first day of school pictures, watching the same movies at Christmas every year, or eating at the same restaurant to celebrate your wedding anniversary.
WHY FAMILY TRADITIONS MATTER
Children need connection to feel safe and develop a sense of belonging within their family. All families have identities and cultures that are unique to them. Part of that culture is traditions.
Childhood is often defined by our earliest family experiences, and creating solid, fun, and meaningful family traditions with your children from a young age will help cement those relationships and contribute to their meaning-making experiences.
Family traditions help your child develop a healthy sense of self and can lead to them being better-adjusted adults down the road.
HOW TO CREATE TRADITIONS WITH YOUR KIDS
Creating family traditions may seem hard, but I promise it isn’t!
For something to be a lasting family tradition, it needs to have three elements:
- Creates a sense of community and bonding
- Something your family does at regular intervals (monthly, yearly, etc)
- Allows equal enjoyment and participation for all members
Chances are you already have some traditions in your family you just may not realize it.
To start completely from scratch, ask yourself these three questions:
- Think back to when you were a child – what traditions do you remember your family having?
- What sort of feelings do those memories bring forward for you?
- Are those traditions something you would want to continue with your own children?
Once you have answered those questions brainstorm ways you can weave those traditions into your family life or create entirely new ones.
Pro tip: if your kids are at least age 3, I would recommend getting them involved in this process!
PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!
From your brainstormed list, choose something small (maybe a monthly family game night where everyone gets to pick a snack to share) and keep at it for a few months to see if it “sticks.”
Not everything you try is going to work, and that’s ok!
Remember, this is about FAMILY and not perfectionism.
As I said earlier, holidays are filled with family traditions, but sometimes that can feel like too much pressure and often includes relatives and friends.
You may want to start small and limit the activity to just your immediate family until you find your groove.
3 WAYS TO USE SEASONAL PICTURE BOOKS TO CREATE FAMILY TRADITIONS
Picture books provide many amazing ways to create family traditions!
These are three of my favorite ways to use seasonal picture books to create lasting family traditions and encourage the love of reading in your home.
1. Display seasonal/holiday picture books in a special location such as a basket or shelf so they become special and anticipated.
I’ll be the first to say that holiday/seasonal books can be read ANY time of year, but there’s something very special about marking the changing of the seasons or an upcoming holiday with special picture books that only come out during that time of year.
My parents still bring out their Christmas book collection every year. I absolutely love sitting by their fire reading my kids the Nativity story, The Night Before Christmas, and a host of other cherished stories from my childhood.
This would also be a great time to create a cozy book nook where you can enjoy your seasonal reads!
2. Add a new book to your collection every year. Make choosing the new book a family event!
There are soooo many holidays to choose from (Valentine’s Day, Halloween, Christmas, New Years, Easter, etc.) to start building your collection and many opportunities to practice this tradition each year.
3. Grow your tradition by having a book swap.
One of my favorite Christmas traditions that I see a lot of friend groups, churches, or neighborhoods doing each year is the Christmas cookie swap.
Why not do a picture book swap instead?! This is a great way to share the love of books with others and add to your collection. It’s also exciting because you never know what book you might get!
SOMETHING FOR EVERY FAMILY
Traditions are as unique as the families that create them.
Family traditions reinforce the family culture and create a sense of belonging and joy for children and adults alike.
Presenting reading as a central and important part of your child’s life is the best way to encourage a life-long love of reading, making seasonal book collections a win-win for everyone! It’s also a really fun and unique was to create lasting traditions with your family and celebrate holidays throughout the year.
Creating arts and crafts together is another great way to build community in your family! Check out these super fun Fall crafts for some ideas.
What picture book traditions are you excited to create? Let us know in the comments or come share in our Facebook group. We’d love to see you there!
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