Keeping your family together is a full-time job, but that doesn’t mean it’s all work. Planning the regular rituals that become part of the family lore and tradition take effort at the outset, but they are well worth the return in fun and family bonding. Establishing rituals and traditions beyond major holidays creates a shared foundation for the family story.
Just like you look for regular, weekly rituals to maintain a sense of family togetherness, you can choose monthly activities for the family to further build that sense of connectedness. Every Friday night might be family movie night, but what about the third Sunday of each month? Can you choose a regular monthly activity that becomes a consistent family ritual -- a tradition -- that your family will feel part of for years to come?
Small town, suburb or big city, there are cultural institutions locally or very nearby that are a terrific resource for families. Consider visits to museums, zoos, musical performances, galleries, parks and the like to expand your family's realm and to create memorable moments for your kids. Once a month, pick a cultural event to participate in so you are exposing your children to the wide range of expression in the world, and sharing some of what is important to you.
Consider bringing charity work to your family ritual. It's a bit of a luxury to be able to choose ways to bond as a family instead of just getting by day-to-day, so why not give some of the sense of peace you feel to others by giving back as a family. You can participate in social service work, serving meals or organizing a food pantry, or help put together care packages for service men and women overseas, or work at the local animal shelter. While it may take a little effort to find the right organization that can use the help of the whole family, the effort is well worth it.
Extended family gatherings
If you have extended family in the area -- or even just close friends you consider your family -- strengthen the bond all around by putting a gathering on the monthly calendar. It can be for a meal or combined with a cultural outing -- or even just to watch a favorite sports team on the telly -- as long as you do it. You don't have to create elaborate sit-down dinners or consider complex timing, just get together and be together.
Family talent night
If your kids (and you) are involved in the performing arts, monthly family talent nights are a fun way to track and validate development in what can often seem like a slow progression. From music to voice to monologue from plays -- or even magic shows -- family talent nights encourage stage confidence in your individual children and remind your kids how they have your support for and pride in their endeavors.
Creating family traditions and rituals can be as much fun as it is effort. Keep the effort light but heartfelt and you'll all truly enjoy and look forward to these monthly family-building rituals.
More about family connections
Family time with fun and creativity
Five ways to stay connected with your family
6 Ways to bring your family closer together