When I hear fun family traditions, I always relate it to major events like Christmas or New Year celebrations. But I know there’s more to it than meets the eye. There’s a lot of reasons why traditions are important for a family, especially to a child’s wellbeing. Personally, I want something that my kid will reminisce about when she grows up.
I want her to have a fun and memorable childhood and to have those memories to go back to, especially when she realizes how hard life can be when you’re a grown-up. I want her to miss our family traditions so much that it will move her to give me a call, facetime me, visit us or beam herself (not sure what the future might bring) back home. When my kid is away for college or work or when she lives far away with her family, I want her to look forward to going home to these family traditions and to hopefully, pass that on when she has her own family.
I’ve been starting a few and I want to add more but not to the point where it will be too overwhelming. I want to manage expectations here and just do something that I know I can keep up with every year.
Some daily and weekly traditions here are more like rituals but these are very simple yet fun ideas to kick-start your very own family tradition with younger kids.
Simple and Fun Family Traditions
Eating dinner together
This is the only time during the weekdays when we’re not rushing to go anywhere So as much as possible, I savour these times. I always want to know what’s happening with my kid’s life, even if she’s just a “threenager.” It’s a great practice for her to tell stories and to expand her vocabulary and language skills.
Reading bedtime stories
Reading to children has tons of benefits and I want to practice that early on with my kid. I’ve been reading and exposing her to books since she was 2 months old and now that she’s 3 years old, she has grown to love them! She always asks if I borrowed something new from the library and would always insist that I read to her every day.
Saying what we’re thankful for before going to sleep
Teaching the virtue of gratitude can also benefit kids in the long run so we always end our day by asking each other, “What are we thankful for?”
Family cuddles every night
My husband works long hours and by that, I mean, sometimes, he’d still be working late in the night or even on the weekends. But I really appreciate it when he tries to rush home to catch up, have dinner and have our daily family cuddles.
Every time I see and hug my small family, I just feel so thankful that I have them, filling up my happiness cup every night.
Saying “I Love You”
This is more of a habit but every night, before sleeping, when I wake up my kid, when I drop her off or fetch her from school, I always utter these 3 special words. I always want her to know how much I love and treasure her.
It may seem overrated but life is short. You never know what might happen, especially with this pandemic so I will never be ashamed to say it out loud and I will never regret telling my family that I love them, every day.
Now that my kid is a little older, we’ve been enjoying our weekly movie sessions. We mostly watch kid-friendly movies of course but I like watching those with them. She doesn’t get TV during the weekdays so she really gets excited when it’s the weekend.
It’s been fun watching movies with her. I get to see her reaction, see how she processes and tries to understand certain movie scenarios and when I know she’s getting a little bit confused, I pause the movie and try to explain what’s happening. Making that another learning session for the weekend!
Bonding with grandparents every week
This is something that we all look forward to at the end of the week. My daughter asks me almost everyday if it’s already Saturday. I get to have some “me-time” during the day and my husband also gets his rest.
I live here in Singapore and it’s already relatively safe here but of course, you should always be cautious and use your better judgement. If a face-to-face get together is not possible where you’re from, try an online bonding session perhaps.
Try to get your toddlers to get used to talking to their grandparents online. They may not be as attentive as you want them to be given their age, but eventually, as they get older, they will get the hang of it.
Eating ice cream every Saturday
I don’t really give my kid sweets as I don’t want her getting used to it but I let her have her ice cream during the weekends. It’s another bonding ritual that she enjoys with my in-laws and that she looks forward to after a week of school.
“Explore Singapore day”
We used to do this every weekend but since the pandemic, we just resorted to having a walk at the nearby park.
What we used to do is go to a place we’ve never been to before. Of course, most are kid-friendly places but I just love getting to know my 2nd home all over again and seeing my kid enjoy the places she has never been to before.
I hope to do this again pretty soon, as things are slowly going back to normal here in Singapore.
Visit the library
We also used to do this every weekend pre-pandemic times and I look forward to doing this again with my daughter, when it’s much safer.
I want her to love reading and when she grows up, I’m hoping we can have these weekend traditions where we’ll have coffee, go by the library, borrow and read a book and swap opinions with one another about a book.
I can’t wait for her to read and watch Harry Potter, but I digress.
I want to do this more with my husband but nevertheless, I always enjoy these walks with my little one. We do this every weekend by the nearby park, which is just outside our home.
It’s very relaxing and rejuvenating plus my daughter gets to burn off her seemingly never-ending energy, leaving her more relaxed and chill when we get back home.
Birthday “Privilege + Responsibility”
Aside from gifts and cakes, I want to have this tradition of giving my kid a new age-appropriate “Privilege + Responsibility” gift.
Say for example, when she turns 4 next year, I will write down her “Privilege + Responsibility” and place it on an envelope, give and read it to her as a gift. Her “privilege” for that age will be, preparing her own breakfast in the kitchen. She has been wanting to help out in the kitchen so I’d let her to do that once she’s a little older. But then again, her “responsibility” will be cleaning up afterwards!
Birthday Photo Album
I chose, printed and placed 100 pictures of my daughter on a photo album from her 1st year and I hope to continue that when she gets older.
I don’t have a lot of pictures of my family (long story) so I really want my daughter to have pictures of us, doing things together, so she can look at them and remember the fun times.
I gave my daughter a piggy bank when she turned 2 and I have been giving her some coins every now and then but I want to turn that into a proper tradition.
I want her to learn the value of saving so I’d like to teach that to her when she turns 4, when the concept of money and of buying and selling, is clearer to her.
I have been exposing and teaching her that concept so I hope when she turns a little older, she will be able to better understand the concept of saving money and make that into a long term practice, by starting with her birthday money.
Birthday Family Board Game
This is something I am looking forward to doing when my daughter gets older but so far, this board game seems to be a hit for children and is a bestseller in Amazon.
We used to do this at the end of the year and it’s just so sad that it might take years before my daughter can experience traveling internationally again.
But it’s been getting a bit safer to go around here in Singapore so we might just settle for a staycation instead.
It’s such a great way to unwind and just enjoy the days of no work, no school, no chores in the most idyllic setting possible.
Volunteer/ Community Service
I think I’ll start this with my daughter when it’s so much safer and we’re not required to wear a mask anymore but this is something that I’m aspiring to do with my family.
I want my daughter to realize how lucky she is, to appreciate what she has and to “pay it forward” by helping others who are not as fortunate as she is.
Valentine’s Day Love Letter
My husband is not really the romantic type but every now and then, he will surprise me with flowers, especially on Valentine’s Day. And I want to do the sort of the same thing with my daughter by writing and reading her a love letter, telling her what I like and love about her.
Mother’s Day Date
Ever since I became a mother, doing or buying something for my daughter has been one of my greatest pleasures. So for Mother’s Day, I want to set a tradition where we’ll both enjoy a day that is supposed to be well, for me.
Maybe we can change that when she gets older but for now, since my daughter is still so young, I’d want a Mother’s Day tradition where we both get to go to a place or do an activity, where I know, we’ll both enjoy. Like going to the zoo or to an interactive museum.
Father’s Day Date
I want my daughter to have a strong bond with my husband and for her to know how a girl should be treated by a man who truly cares and loves her. So, I’m going to push this to my husband and insist he has a one-on-one bonding day with my daughter.
Back to School Shopping
Here’s something I also look forward to – shopping with my daughter! Especially for school stuff! I think I need to wait though as she still tends to play around and run away from me when we’re in a mall but I think she’s getting there. We just went to a shoe store recently and she was so excited to choose some shoes for her. It was so adorable seeing my 3 year old choosing, testing and walking her new shoes in the store!
School Ditch Day
Another tradition to look forward to when my daughter gets older – ditch school day! Which will probably also mean ditch work day for me, lol. But still, this would be fun to have, especially if school holidays are coming. A tradition I know every student would look forward to.
Playing Christmas songs
From where I came from, we celebrate Christmas on an extreme level. First of all, Christmas starts once the “ber-months” starts. So that means, you can already hear christmas songs, see christmas decorations, watch the occasional fireworks, etc., once September starts. it’s loud, colorful, noisy and if you’re not used to it, it can be overwhelming. My culture is all about celebrating and always finding the silver lining, even in the middle of a crisis or pandemic.
But since I don’t want our neighbours to look at us weirdly here in Singapore, I had to tone down that and just start playing Christmas songs after Halloween.
Decorating the Christmas tree
We just recently decorated our Christmas tree with the help of my little one! She actually got tired of going around the tree to decorate it, which was quite amusing for me.
I also decided to just put up our Christmas tree right after Halloween, even though growing up, I’m so used to seeing a Christmas tree and related decorations as early as September.
But I will always remember that feeling, that excitement and anticipation which goes on for months that finally settles into a fun and noisy Christmas celebration.
Cooking is not really my strongest suit but I would really love to try baking. I know I mentioned I don’t really encourage my kid to eat sweets but having it once in a while isn’t that bad. Especially if it’s a tradition that is rooted more in the process and the joy of an activity with loved ones.
I don’t know yet if I’m really up for this, as one, we don’t have a traditional oven and two, we only have a toaster oven but I guess it’s a pretty nice and new way to celebrate the coming Christmas holidays.
I remember every year as a kid, we would have a sort of performance for the adults, where we’ll have a song and dance number.
Since we have a very small family here (and by small I mean, me, my husband and my kid and my hubby’s parents and sisters), I think it would be fair to just opt for a simple family presentation of slideshow pictures and videos throughout the years.
We have this ritual of sharing pictures and videos taken during the weekend and I’m planning to compile those and make a slideshow presentation of it for our intimate Christmas Day celebration.
I am also planning to start taking proper family photos every Christmas!
We have one every big major celebration, even for ordinary days actually, but it’s always rushed, always haphazardly taken, one is always not looking (usually my kid) and we don’t really look our best.
So for this year, I’m going to level that up with matching outfits! I haven’t decided on what kind of outfits yet but I definitely want it to be a family outfit.
Binge watching Christmas movies
Another thing I would love to do is just laze around and watch christmas movies all day. I do worry though about the negatives effects of that on my kid but since it will only be for once a year, I might as well go for it. It’s the holidays anyway!
Attending family reunions
This was a major event when I was a kid and I remember, we had scripts and programs that we had to practice for. Because everything will be recorded, will be presented to everyone and will be watched repeatedly and commented on, when the older family members and relatives feel like doing it. So it was always a big production.
It was a tad stressful at times since I remember as kids, we also had to do a bit of hosting, interviewing, entertaining but it was definitely one of the most fun and most memorable moments of my childhood.
I remember having 30 or more relatives attending the family reunion, which would usually be held in our house before but I think that has tripled or more in the past few years, given that most of us have our own families now.
I hope to do this every year, when my kid is a little bit older and when this pandemic is completely over.
Try something new every year
Whether it be a new activity, place, hobby, meal, etc., I promise myself to try something new at the start of every year (starting next year!) and to bring along my family with me in my shenanigans, hahaha!
I want my kid to try to push herself to expand her horizon and to try something totally new and strange, so she can learn how to be flexible, to conquer her fears 1iand to find ways to adapt to unfamiliar situations.
How Times Have Changed
I know everyone is looking forward to Christmas and New year and just escaping our reality for just a few days, with gifts, decorations, merry making and such. I know the feeling. Our Christmas tree is up, I am already listing out presents for everyone, Christmas songs can be heard blasting from our house, more holiday plans are being drafted by the end of the year but still, I know it just won’t be the same.
So I hope these few simple family traditions will give my kid a semblance of a normal childhood in these disturbing and stressful times. I hope that whatever distressing news or updates that she’s able to process, will be totally eclipsed by the simple yet fun family rituals and traditions that we have. I hope she’ll understand that, no matter what happens, we will always have her back and we will always love her, no matter what.
Are you planning something new and grand for the holidays? What traditions are you sticking to or ditching? Let me know by commenting below.