More and more of today’s modern families are deciding to create new traditions of their own. As the great writer Carlos Fuentes once said, “There is no creation without tradition; the ‘new’ is an inflection on a preceding form; novelty is always a variation on the past.” While that may be true, novelty is precisely the variable to consider adding to your traditions. Never has there been such a renaissance of open-mindedness in American parenting—and with such a groundswell of creativity, comes an opportunity to create new traditions for you and your family. This doesn’t mean you have to forego the traditions of the past; simply consider incorporating some new ones into your dynamic and fun family legacy.
1. YES Day Designate a jar to be the Yes jar. Each time you say No to your kids, have them write their request on index cards (first establish acceptable criteria, of course) and drop all the cards into the jar. Once a month, let them pick a card from the jar, and your job is to say, Yes to whatever they pick. This game not only helps them accept No when you mean it, but it also loosens you up a bit when its time to reward them for generally being such a good kid.
2. Family Olympics Nothing like some healthy competition to amp family morale and get everyone excited about reaching for the stars. You can hold this event in your back yard, at a park or a beach. Just choose sporting events tailored for the whole family—things like beanbag toss, horseshoes, badminton, volleyball, and synchronized swimming. Create teams, or compete individually, but make sure to give prizes to all participants.
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3. Weekly Mornings in Bed Piling up in bed as a family on a lazy weekend morning creates some of the best bonding there is. You can hold pillow fights, tell stories, or make a delicious breakfast in bed like a giant Puffed Dutch NILLA Pancake or a healthy “Beary-Berry” Banana Split. Whatever the activities, just make sure you set aside a few hours a week for family pile-ups that your kids will always remember.
4. Everything’s Crazy Day Sometimes nothing is more gratifying than a healthy dose of goofing off, pranks, laughing and spontaneity. On this crazy day, your kids might wake up to the fact that their toothbrush is in the freezer; their hairbrush is a spatula, and the unexpected delight of getting cake for breakfast!
5. Half-Birthday Parties Kids love birthdays so much—so why not add to their enthusiasm for this life cycle marker by also celebrating the six-month mark of another year? This doesn’t mean you have to go all out and spend a fortune on party supplies; but challenge yourself to get creative about ways to make your kids’ half birthdays somehow meaningful, too. Who doesn’t love a reason to celebrate with loved ones?
6. Christmas Toy Swap Instead of just receiving gifts on Christmas morning, how about getting your kids to leave old toys they no longer use under the tree, which Santa can then give to other kids in need. This is a great way to teach your children about the true spirit of giving and taking, and spreading good will and generosity in an unselfish way.
7. Parent Trap The last night before school is out, role-play with your kids, with mom and dad as the students and them as the teachers. Let them find out if dad can do long division on the fly, or if mom really understands decimals and fractions. This is a great way to have them recap what they’ve learned all year, in addition to getting your own academic juices flowing again.
8. First Snow Fest Make it official: every time the first snow falls, the family makes a snowman, holds a snowball fight, and helps dad shovel if the snow piles high. This is the perfect way to get your family into the spirit of winter, and an even better way to beat the seasonal blues.
Editor’s Note: This post is brought to you by HoneyMaid, and their efforts to showcase the many facets of modern American family life.