Creating special memories with our children is one of the highlights of our life with them; snippets in time that our little ones will look back on with fondness when they’re older.  Children eagerly anticipate the process of creating and recreating these special traditions.

Making family time for new traditions

This is particularly true in a world where so much of our day is hurried.  Often the December holidays are the only time children see their parents for a significant period without the daily stress and rush.  As schools and many businesses close for at least a few days over this month, there is an abundance of valuable family time and a great time to build new memories.  Cristine Scolari, a clinical psychologist in Bedfordview who specialises in children and adolescents, agrees, “Holiday traditions bind families together; they are the cement that brings and keeps everybody close.  Family traditions are an important way to connect and bond.”

A tradition of generosity

Opportunities to instil a new tradition occur throughout the year, but as December looms closer, the media, schools, and retailers focus primarily on Christmas.  However, there are a variety of ways to add special moments to this time of year, which do not necessarily include religious significance.

“Some families – even if they do not observe Christmas – do give their children some presents as a token to them to say thank you for the year.  Christmas Day can also be seen as a day of giving or a day for showing love,” explains Scolari.  This need not involve a lot of money or material items; the day can be a time for giving thanks.  Take time on a particular day to allow each member of the family, no matter how young, to remember and recognise what makes each person feel grateful.

 

Ideas for creating new traditions

  • Give back to an organisation that is close to your heart. Organise a collection of food, clothes and books from your community, and donate to a local charity.
  • Decorate a jar to collect money throughout the year and use the money saved to create a beautiful gift for a less fortunate child through an NGO like Operation Shoebox.
  • Volunteer to help out at a needy organisation with your child, which mirrors values that are important to your family.
  • Plant a seed on New Year’s Day and watch the wonder on your child’s face as it grows for the rest of the year.
  • Share special family recipes or make new ones and let your child help create the masterpieces. Young children love to bake biscuits, so stock up on a variety of cookie cutter shapes!
  • Go for a picnic at a nearby park and include foods or recipes that are special to your family. Share stories of things that you did when you were your child’s age.
  • Take a trip to see extended family or share where you or your partner grew up, and include memories you have of that time.
  • Involve children in creative activities on specific days, such as making a “happy to see you” card for family members who will be visiting.
  • Encourage children to create a collage of the special things they achieved in the past year, and send it to a family member who lives far away.