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BBSDTfamily's avatar

What's a good tradition to start with my children?

Asked by BBSDTfamily (6737 points ) November 15th, 2011

Looking for all ideas here! Maybe traditions of getting my daughter different dolls in a certain series, or my son an ornament every year? Not necessarily just holiday traditions…. birthdays, annual things, etc. Please give me any ideas you have on meaningful traditions to have with your children.

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25 Answers

blueiiznh's avatar

Can you please provide ages?

JilltheTooth's avatar

When, as a grown up in my mid-twenties, I had my first Christmas tree, I had no ornaments. The poor tree looked like it came from a KMart. Every year since KatawaGrey was morn, I’ve given her at least one ornament, so she wouldn’t have to go through that. I know that was one of your examples, but that’s the one I did!

CaptainHarley's avatar

Let the child with the highest grades for the year decide where the family goes on vacation.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Pick a family down on their luck and have your family prepare a Thanksgiving or Christmas meal for them.

tom_g's avatar

I lean towards traditions with my kids that don’t involve purchases. For example, I cookies with my kids around Christmas time that my grandmother used to make for me. We use her recipe (written by her on an old scrap of paper). My kids really look forward to it, and it is comforting to me – in a small way – to share with them some stories of my grandmother and how important she was to me.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Writing Thank You notes for gifts.

Blackberry's avatar

Scrabble.

Sunny2's avatar

There were four of us. Any time there was a box of candy, every piece got cut in 4 if it was soft. Hard ones, we took turns choosing.
We did get an tree ornament for each of the kids every year. We still have them. Neither of them ever had a Christmas tree after they were grown..

john65pennington's avatar

Dinner is at your table at 5 pm.

Make sure your children are there. No excuses.

This holds your family together.

jca's avatar

A day trip to a historical site or other location is always nice. Make it an annual thing, include dinner in a restaurant.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@blueiiznh Yes, 20 month old boy and 2 month old girl

john65pennington's avatar

Also, respect their elders by saying yes sir and no maam.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@john65pennington : I think she’s talking about little special things, not asking for advice on child-rearing.

blueiiznh's avatar

If you celebrate Christmas, go tag a tree in early november. Most of those kinds of places allow you to do a small amount of decorating it while it is still in the field. The pick a date after Thanksgiving (late nov, early dec to go and cut it and bring it home.

Birthdays make a special dinner of their fav foods.

Take at least one family vacation somewhere. When they are old enough, allow each child to pick a place or a direction that they want to travel.

Supper on the table and talking about their days is a simple wonderful one.

Certain events for them to look forward to. The beach, picnic’s, weekly trips to the Library, a trip to visit distant family,

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

As far as holiday traditions go: one Christmas tradition that I’ve started with my kids is to take them to Walmart or somewhere else that has an “Angel Tree”. We pick two names from the tree and go Christmas shopping for them. It’s a lot of fun, and it’s important for the kids to see how good they’ve got it compared to those less fortunate.

Another Christmas tradition is on Christmas Eve, when we get home from our family party, I tuck both my daughters into bed and read them “Twas the Night Before Christmas” and “The Nativity Story”. I have no idea if you’re religious or not, just thought I’d throw that out there.

Just last year we began a new tradition with Elf on the Shelf. The kids named him Twizzle and he will be making an appearance every year from Dec 1 to Dec 24, until my youngest daughter stops believing.

As far as non-holiday traditions go, both of my daughters collect certain figurines. They usually get one to add to their set for each birthday.

Judi's avatar

Advent calendars are fun.
Watching a local production of the nutcracker
Making sugar cookies for Santa on Christmas eve

he church my kids grew up in always had Wednesday night services during Lent that were geared for the kids. The children’s message always included one piece of a larger product. Once they had parts of a train with each having a letter spelling, “He is Risen.” I think they had a tree with egg ornaments one year.
These became special memories for my kids.

lynfromnm's avatar

We buy a new board game every year for everyone in the family to play. Last year it was “Headbands”, which was a hilarious interactive game. The year before it was Harry Potter Clue, which I highly recommend.

GladysMensch's avatar

Family game night is fun. Pick a night every week, and play a game. Let the kids pick out the games once they get a bit older. They can choose board games, card games, trivia games, kick the can… whatever.

Family movie night… also fun. Let them pick the flick. Popcorn, candy, sleeping bags on the floor… during the summer months, get a projector and have an outdoor theater on the back of the garage.

Camping is also a great tradition.

Boogabooga1's avatar

Planting seeds. (or harvest)
The garden is a great place to bond.
My 2.5yr old daughter recently helped me sew seeds, now she is keen to come help me in the garden every day. This is now our ‘thing’. (she is amazingly good, is aware of which plants are lettuce/carrots etc and which are weeds… the worms are a favorite)

I think the sewing of seeds and the ultimate harvest is going to live with her (us) forever.
(Plus it is a really good lesson in ‘as you sew, so shall you reap.’)

MissAusten's avatar

Each of our kids gets an ornament in their stockings each Christmas. I write the names and the year on them, and someday they’ll get to use these on their own trees. It’s always fun to pick an ornament specific to each child, and when we decorate the tree every year the kids love to find “their” ornaments.

We also do an advent calendar every year. Last year (probably this year too) was a Lego advent calendar, which was a lot of fun. This year we got a Star Wars Lego advent calendar and I think my husband and I are more excited about it than the kids.

We have a birthday tradition of letting the kids pick the dinner menu (within reason) for their family birthday dinner. They choose everything from the main dish to the sides to the dessert. It’s always fun to see what they choose and they love being complimented on the menu by their relatives!

Another thing we do is “Friday Fire.” Every Friday night during summer and fall (when it isn’t raining) we build a fire in our fire pit and make s’mores. Sometimes we have to push Friday Fire to Saturday or Sunday depending on weather or other events, but we try to do it at least once a week. The first fire we build after school lets out for summer vacation is a special one for the kids because they get to use old schoolwork and workbooks as the kindling for the fire, which they LOVE to do! We go through all of the papers, choose some special stories or drawings to keep, laugh at other things, and gleefully burn tests, math papers, homework from mean teachers, etc. My kids might be turning into pyromaniacs.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Ooh, I forgot about Friday Movie Night. We like to either buy or rent a movie we haven’t yet seen and order either pizza or Chinese food. We’ll eat our feast at the coffee table in the living room while we watch the movie. My kids love it. Of course, yours are a little young for that, just now, but they might enjoy it when they’re older. =0)

MissAusten's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate We do pizza and a movie night too, but not on a regular basis. I don’t know what the kids like most, the movie, the pizza, or getting away with the forbidden act of eating in the living room!

Yeah, we live on the edge like that. ;)

Ela's avatar

I prefer to do things to create a tradition rather than to buy things : )
Birthdays- Pull out their baby album, look at the pics with them and tell them stories of the day they were born to around their first year (my kids each have a 0–12 months baby album). Have cake for breakfast and go out to dinner at the restaurant of their choice (even if it’s McDs).
Hang a 2 frame cascading picture frame of their firsts (New Years, Valentines, St Patty’s Day, ect…) and change the pictures of them out every month.
Have annual Super Bowl parties, Ice cream parties (6–8 different kinds of ice cream, tons of toppings and a movie), Popcorn parties (a bunch of different kinds of popcorn and a movie), a b-day party for the pet (ex.- a can of dog food with a candle in it for them, cake for you). Have stuffed friends b-day parties (I always liked these. My kids would set all their friends around the table, wrap “present” (toys from around the house) and I would bake cupcakes). Toboggan parties for the first measurable snowfall. I can turn anything into a party and a tradition. LOL
Have a movie-a-thon such as a Harry-Potathon, where you watch the movies back to back to back.. (I have invisi cloaks, bernie bot beans, polly juice, a “feast” for dinner (we usually order kfc) and whatever else I think of.) We do this every summer. This year we are having a Lord of the Ringsathon ; )
Mother’s Day- take them out flower shopping. Let them pick any flowers they want, then come home and plant them in the flower garden.
Christmas, Grandparent’s Day (or G-Parents b-day) – Have them draw (no coloring) a picture that relates to the holiday on a half or ¼ piece of paper, scan it an turn it into a card, then have them color and mail it.
New Years Eve- I never go out and have always celebrated with my children at home. I have friends over and make homemade pizza. Adults have wine and I set up a punch table for the kids. They each have their own pizza and a variety of toppings so they can toss on whatever they want. I buy all the blowies, noise makers and party stuff, which they love. We watch the ball drop on tv and woop it up.
A few years ago, I took my kids to Chicago on our first family vacation. We spent 4 nights and 3 days and I let each one choose a destination for the day. We went to the Field Museum, The Museum Science of Industry, and the Shedd Aquarium.

Ela's avatar

@MissAusten I usually take my kids out for ice cream the first and last days of school, but I really like the idea of a fire for the last day of school and will have to think of a way to make it work ; )

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

What a great question. Good for you for thinking about this while the children are very young. And what a lot of wonderful suggestions. Some of the traditions in our family are repeats of the ones above, but here goes:

* Prior to a holiday, the kids would make a construction paper chain in various colors representing the holiday, e.g., pink and purple for Easter, orange and black for Halloween. Each link represented a day closer to the holiday. The chain would be hung from the ceiling light over the kitchen table, and each morrning, we would tear off a link of the chain.

* There was a costume box in the attic. It was years later before we discovered that one of the dresses was Mom’s simple wedding gown.

* For Easter, each child would put their empty basket on the living room floor the night before. The Easter Bunny would fill the baskets and then hide them throughout the house. The older we got, the hidden locations became trickier. Discover a sibling’s basket hidden location before they did, and the taunting began.

* Dad was a traveling salesman, so he took the family down to the local ice cream parlor every Sunday night before he headed out of town the next day.

* During the summer, Dad would grill hamburgers, and we’d eat them in the carport on a picnic table. We’d also made homemade icecream (hand-cranked, of course) with either fresh strawberries or peaches. A croquet course would be set up in the front yard, and sometimes the games would last well past sunset. Dad set up a spotlight so we could play until the bloody end.

* Formal family vacations were never taken. During the holidays, we spent them at Mom’s parents’ house. There were nine grandchildren total, To entertain us without adult supervision, two treasure chests filled with costume jewelry were hidden in this mansion. One belonged to the boy cousins and the other to the girls. The goal was to locate the other team’s treasure box and re-hide it, again, taunting them that we knew its new location and they didn’t.

It seems like traditions not only provide an opportunity for family bonding, but they bring some stability to children as they grow up.

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