How do we make our kids happy and resilient? It’s the question on every parent’s mind. As I tried to answer the question, I started intentionally adding more rituals. I found that if I want happy kids, I HAVE to begin with them. Not only do they help me live out my mom mantra, but human connection is one of the number one factors in happiness.
Rituals promote that connection and cohesiveness in a family. Plus, humans ritualize what is important to us. So if we have family rituals and traditions, our kids understand what our values are and they find security in the predictable.
When I think of my own childhood, I remember most fondly the things that we repeated over and over together. I’ve been thinking hard about finding rituals that keep us more aligned with being healthy, happy, and impactful.
So today, I’ll start with our favorite weekly rituals.
Date Night – Friday night
We can’t expect to be a happy family if we don’t take care of our marriage first, so this one is just for the two of us. I have read so much about the importance of date night I can’t even remember all of the sources they are from. We established date night when our son was small, and I will never ever go back. We just need it to keep our relationship as great as we want it.
So now, every Friday night is date night (though we are flexible if we make plans). Since we don’t get out much with three kids, it’s almost always at home.
The older kids eat first on their own, then they watch a movie. They don’t watch a lot of television during the week, so they really look forward to Friday nights. My husband and I eat after they start the movie and we have real adult conversation. Real adult conversation. Hallelujah, it’s pretty wonderful. Usually we follow that up with a game, plan some things, do some conversation questions, or start our own movie.
Pancake Breakfast – Saturday morning
The kids wake up every Saturday morning and immediately ask where the pancakes are. To make this happen logistically, we make a double or triple batch of homemade pancakes and throw the rest in the freezer.
Sometimes we go all out and make eggs and bacon, other times it’s whatever fruit we can find that’s not rotting in the fridge. The point is that we sit down for a nice breakfast as a family once a week in addition to our family dinners.
Family Night – Sunday evening
This is our kids’ favorite time of the week. Sunday night. Sometimes we put more effort in and do indoor camping or go to Chick Fil A armed with games. When we have less energy or time, we just play or do art together.
Either way it’s a special time that we devote just to the family. Now that the two oldest are bigger, we usually discuss what we’re going to do together and let the kids give input. The only real rule we have is to try to put our phones away and be present.
Give It A Try
Our relationships have ABSOLUTELY improved since implementing these 3 rituals into our calendar! It’s a simple matter of putting family FIRST, before life gets in the way!
So, I’d love to know, what are your favorite weekly family rituals? What do you and your family look forward to every week that you feel supports your values?
These are affiliate links at no cost to you. They’ve just helped me through the years!
- The Book of New Family Traditions by Meg Cox
- Raising Happiness by Christine Carter Ph.D.
- Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne and Lisa M. Ross
- The Miracle Morning for Parents & Families by Hal Elrod and Lindsay McCarthy
- The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
- The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman