You know those Facebook posts your married friends put up of adorable family outings and game nights? They look like so much fun, so meaningful, so full of love and joy, blah blah blah.
It’s not that you don’t want to do those things with your kids. It’s just that by the end of the day, you’re grateful everyone made it through without going to the hospital. Thankfully, family rituals don’t have to be burdensome. You can establish regular, sweet times with your kids, without driving yourself insane.
Rituals that Reflect Your Values
We talked about values in a previous post. (No worries if you haven’t read it. It’s right here.)
When my ex got remarried, I admit I was envious of the activities two adults can pull off. I wanted those sweet moments with my boys, and until the divorce, I was the one who made them happen.
When I got out of the self pity trap, though, I realized I could still create routines and rituals that meant something to us. Those rituals have changed over the years, but at one point we’ve done all of these:
- Sing to each boy while rubbing his back before bed. (I don’t sing anymore, but we still end every day with a back rub.)
- Audiobook evenings. After dinner, a cup of tea, some coloring books, and a great book. This was a perfect replacement for the nights when I just couldn’t keep my eyes open to read to them. Some nights, this can last an hour or more, which also keeps them from wrestling and destroying the house. Win-win.
- Hiking. We’re lucky enough to live close to a great nature park, so hikes are a regular. Ever want your kids to talk to you more? Get them out on the trails. You’ll be surprised at how much they have to say.
- Pizza and movie night. Every Friday night, I hear, “Mom, what’s for dinner. Oh yeah, pizza. What movie are we watching.” This one was passed down from my own mother, and it’s something my boys look forward to.
- Road trips. Whether it’s to visit family or a day trip to a local attraction, my boys and I love exploring together. These obviously take more planning than other rituals, but when I can make it happen, we all love it.
Go back to your list of values. What can you introduce your kids to that will create quality time without stressing you out. I have one friend who gardens with her kids (which would make me a crazy person), and they’ve created a beautiful yard along with beautiful memories.
Maybe you love doing crafts. Or you want to travel with your kids. Or you love cookouts with friends…whatever your values are, there are rituals you can establish to bring them into your family life. They don’t have to be complicated, time consuming, or difficult. In fact, as is often the case, you’ll be better off keeping everything simple.
What are your thoughts? Are you inspired to try any new rituals? Are you currently establishing rituals that reflect your values?