Rituals. Whether we purposefully plan them or not they are part of our lives. They're particularly important for children, because they provide structure and organization. Here are some of my favorites:
- How do you end the work week? I mean, other than totally collapsing in a heap on the couch?
For my family it was always game night. We'd have dinner and pull out a board game. Over the years we amassed quite a collection from Candyland to Settlers of Catan. My kids grew up looking forward to this little Friday night ritual. It gave us protected time as a family when we could talk, joke, and yes, eat dessert! Friday night was protected time. We slowed down (it wasn't hard--we were all exhausted) and had fun together.
- Is it a challenge to get your kids to help clean the house? To be honest, it's never been at the top of my list of fun things to do either. Like it or not, it has to happen periodically. So how do you encourage your gang to do their part? Finish the job with something fun that becomes a family ritual.
What might that look like?
--Clean for 2 hours every Saturday morning then go out for lunch.
--Clean for 20 minutes every day and celebrate over the weekend with a trip out for ice cream.
--After the weekly cleaning the kids decide where the special family outing will be (park, zoo, etc.)
You may have to flex your standards a bit and accept that your home won't be featured in Good Housekeeping, but things will get done! Make it a routine with a happy ending and enjoy the win-win--a cleaner house (and kids who are learning how to clean) AND fun family time!
- A mom I was speaking to shared a lovely ritual with me recently. In the rush of the morning when everyone is trying to get out of the house on time this working mom stops everything before her child leaves the house and gives him a little kiss. He kisses her back and then they're both moving into their day. It sets the mood for both of them.