“Being a family means you are a part of something very wonderful. It means you will love and be loved for the rest of your life.”
It’s sometimes difficult to distinguish between rituals and routines. Rituals symbolically communicate the idea that “this is who we are” as a group, providing continuity in meaning across generations. Routines, on the other hand, are a way of communicating, “This is what needs to be done”. For example, giving your child a bath at 7:00, followed by bedtime at 7:30, is a routine. But if you incorporate personalized moments like a special kiss, handshake, or song, you can transform the routine into a meaningful ritual. Family rituals make family members feel good and create a sense of identity, security and belonging. Even simple rituals like a song before bed can hold special meaning for children and families. I believe that having rituals are very important for formation of a strong character and enhacing child’s personality therefore, as parents we must try and incoperate family rituals for shaping our child’s value system and personality.
Rituals that teach responsibility
Assign each family member a task when setting the table. Create a rotating chore chart that changes every Sunday so that children learn to be independent .Choose a particular time every week when entire family comes together to clean the house. Find the projects entire family can collaborate on like shelling peas or decorating house.
Rituals that promote kindness
Practise loving kindness meditation: Think of your loved ones and send them positive thoughts. Say, “May you feel safe. May you feel happy. May you feel healthy”. Find a place to volunteer as a family ( a nursing home, an animal shelter, etc.). Have each family member share one kind thing they did every day, this way your child’s value system will enhance.
Rituals that boost positivity
Try “Family cuddle time”- when everyone is home, pile into a couch together and cuddle for a while. You could also play ” up and down game,” – each family member shares the high and the low points of their day or anything else they would like to share. This will promote the communication among the family members
Rituals that build strong family connection
For a strong connection, end each evening with a calming message before bed. Choose a few songs to use as goodnight songs. Choose few favourite stories that you read each night. Before saying goodnight, say, “mommy and daddy loves you” and so on. Take turns cooking everyone’s favourite meals. Sample dinners from different culture every week. This way you can build a stronger connection.
Rituals that develop a
sense of belonging
To create a sense of belongingness its important to follow rituals, create special greetings and farewells like ” see you later, alligator!” Have a personalized handshake with each of your children. Go on holidays. During holidays sing songs that hold significance to your family. Keep a “gratitude jar” throughout the year.
I believe, Family rituals are important to the health and well-being of today’s families which are trying to meet the busy demands of juggling work and home. As parents we must understand that rituals involve symbolic communication and convey ‘this is who we are’ as a group and provide meaning across generations. Also, there is often an emotional imprint where once the act is completed, the individual may replay to recapture the positive experience. Make your own rituals for a better connection with your family members because rituals are things that only your family does. Rituals help you say, ‘This is who we are and what we value’.
(The author is RCI Counsellor, Jodhamal Public School)