Monday, 7 March 2011

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How to Create Fun and Cozy Family Traditions?


Soon our Little FECS will be 5 years old. We would like to nurture a cozy family culture. According to the book "The Sixty Minute Family" by Rob Parsons, one of the ways to do so is to establish family traditions. Family traditions are powerful. They bring families closer together by helping to establish bonding and a sense of connectedness and belonging in a family. They are the glue that keeps a family together. Years down the road, when the children have all moved out, it would be the shared memories of the unique things that you did together that would bring the family together. 

It doesn't have to be elaborate. It is better to keep it simple and stress-free. It is the people that counts.

139 ideas for family traditions:

Here are some 130+ ideas from others I have found which we will select and adapt for our family:

1. Meal Under the Table

Once a month or so, have meal or snack under the table and bond with your child.

http://momlearnings.blogspot.dk/2012/08/having-meal-under-table.html
http://www.havingfunathome.com/2010/09/under-table-lunch.html

2. Have a Regular Tea Time

There is something we can learn from the Brits - a relaxed tea time tradition :-). Start this when your child is young. It may actually help you bond to your child when he/she is a teenager. Here are some posts I have done with our family's tea time.

http://momlearnings.blogspot.dk/2012/04/bonding-with-your-teenager-with.html

http://momlearnings.blogspot.dk/2012/04/joshua-summary-3y1m12d-tea-time-with.html

3. Family Grocery Shopping

One of my most memorable childhood memories is going to the supermarket with my mother. We did not have much, and the twice weekly trip to the Supermarket, or as much as we needed to always excited me as a child. I love holding my mother's hand as we walked to the supermarket together. I loved strolling down the aisles browsing at the items, touching and feeling them. I love helping my mother to carry the loads of goods home. Nowadays with net shopping convenience, going to the supermarket is no longer necessary. But nothing beats letting the kids experience, see, touch, feel and sell the perishables, food and household items in a supermarket. The stimulus is very stimulating for young children. Here are some pictures from our family:

http://momlearnings.blogspot.dk/2011/05/montessori-activity-grocery-shopping.html

4. Say Grace Before Each Meal

Say grace and give thanks before each meal. For example, you can ask your children to think of all the steps that were put into bring the food to his plate and thank all the people who make it possible - the farmer, the picker, the truck-driver, the person who unloaded it, the person who stocked it on the shelf, the person who checked it out at the supermarket, mom and dad for cooking it.

5. Martha the Cook

Once a week on a weekend, dad can don a special apron and cook for the family. Give a nickname to dad e.g. Martha the Cook :-) (Note: Dad doesn't have to be a good cook. Even if the cooking goes terribly wrong, Dad can always fall back on a contingency plan of a take-away food, it will still be worth the effort and the memories that this family tradition sets.

6. Pizza Night 

Daddy's colleague, M, has this family tradition: he will make pizza once a week for his his wife and children, who each gets to choose a topping. It doesn't have to be pizza, it can be dumplings with different fillings for a Chinese dad :-) For busy dads, it doesn't have to be once a week, it can also be once a month.

7. Monthly Breakfast

Once a month, eat a big breakfast together. Wake up very early together in the morning. Go to the bakery to buy fresh bread. Make your own croissants, pancakes, etc. When I was a child growing up in Singapore, something special would be the Big Breakfast at McDonalds.

8. Picnic

Once a month, prepare a basket and checked blanket and have a picnic. If it's raining, have a picnic at home on a blanket.

9. Bake Together

Once a month, bake together as a family. Here are our easy, tasty and healthy favorites:

1. Banana buns
2. Apple biscuits
3. Apple chips
4. Banana chips
5. Homemade muesli

You can find more recipes here:

http://momlearnings.blogspot.dk/search/label/Baking

10. Fruit Juice Morning

Once a month, make fruit juice together. It is healthier than soda water, and you will have great fun with your children. For older children, you can also make it into fanciful cocktail. Here are some pictures from our family:

http://momlearnings.blogspot.dk/2011/03/montessori-activity-teaching-science.html

Here is a recipe from our family:

http://momlearnings.blogspot.dk/2010/11/rainbow-fruit-juiceden-regnbue.html

11. Make Ice-Cream

Have a special day when you experiment and make your own ice-cream with your children. Your children will love the thrill. Here are some pictures from our ice-cream making:

http://momlearnings.blogspot.dk/2014/03/homemade-strawberry-ice-cream.html

12. Make Popcorn

During cozy Movie Night, try making some popcorn to go with it. You can find the recipe here:

http://momlearnings.blogspot.dk/2014/08/pop-corn.html

13. Share an Ice-Cream

Once a year, go to the seaside and share a big ice-cream together.

14. Chinese Dumpling Day

Once a quarter, make Chinese dumplings together with your family. If you are a Chinese, it would be a very cozy way to inculcate heritage education to your children. Here are some pictures from our dumpling day:

http://momlearnings.blogspot.dk/2013/10/j-summary-4y6m26m-making-chinese.html

If you wish to try this, here is the recipe for Chinese dumplings:

http://momlearnings.blogspot.dk/2011/02/chinese-dumplingskinesisk.html

15. Singaporean Chinese Popiah Night

Once a year, make and eat Singaporean Popiah together with your family, where each will wrap his own popiah. You can make the ingredients beforehand during the day for your family or your family can also make it a family day preparing the ingredients together. It will be a memorable way to share your heritage with your children if you are a Singaporean, and of course, I am one :-)

If you wish to try this, here is the recipe for Singaporean Chinese Popiah:

http://www.familyfecs.com/2010/11/singaporeanmalaysian-chinese-popiah.html

16. Sushi Night

Once a year, make sushi together. Here are some pictures from our Sushi Night :-)

17. Steamboat/Fondue

This has been a tradition in my family for as long as I can remember. Every Chinese New Year’s Eve, we have steamboat (hot pot) at home with my parents. It’s a very fond memory for me and a great way to spend the evening with family as we usher in the new year. If you are not Chinese, you can also try fondue instead of steamboat.

18. Summer BBQ

Kick off the summer with a BBQ. It doesn't have to be elaborate work. You can keep it simple with just sausages, sweet potatoes and corn cobs. We love to include salmons in our BBQ.

Some pictures here:

http://www.familyfecs.com/2015/05/kick-off-of-summer-bbq.html

19. Little Surprise Note

Leave a word in your children's school lunch boxes. You can simply say, "I love you. Have a good day." You can write some inspiring quotes. If you are a Christian, you can write a Bible verse to encourage your child. Here are some pictures of our little love notes in J's lunchboxes:

http://www.familyfecs.com/2012/08/joshuas-lunch-box-little-surprise-note.html

20. One-Minute Speech

Have a "one-minute speech" during dinner. Give a family member a topic - anything from honesty to the funniest thing that happened that day - and the person speaks for one minute on it.


21. Thanksgiving

During dinner time, encourage each family member to share one thing they are grateful for that day. If your children have nothing to share, don't feel discouraged. Encourage them to share one thing they are especially looking forward to instead. Slowly, they will open up.

22. Affirmation

During dinner time, encourage each family member to share one thing he/she caught another family member doing something good.

23. Marble Jar

Create a Marble Jar and whenever anyone catches another family member doing something good, he gets to put a marble into the jar on behalf of the person. See this post for more information:

http://momlearnings.blogspot.dk/2012/02/encouraging-good-behaviour-with-marble.html

24. "What We Learned This Week" Journal

Encourage reflection and learning in your children by being a family that learns together. Buy a nice, leather-bound journal. At the end of each week, each family member can write about something they have learned during the week. If you have young children, you can write down their words for them. It can be as simple as, "This week, I learned that the earth goes around the sun." Idea adapted from here.

25. Monthly Goal Chest

Encourage your children to set goal and monitor their own goal and incorporate this life long habit into your family culture by having the tradition of having each family member write their goal they want to achieve for that month and place it in a small wooden chest (or a paper box or a glass jar). When the month comes to an end, take out the pieces of paper and review the goals to see how everyone has progressed. It can be as simple as, "I want to learn how to use the chopsticks." or "I want to learn how to tie the shoelaces." or "I want to master the piece Itsy Bitsy Spider on the piano." Then write down new goals for the next month and repeat.

26. Family Trophy

Buy a real trophy and give it to the family member who had been closest to the family mission statement that week or month.

27. Burning Regrets

I got this idea from here. Once a year, come together as a family and encourage each family member to write down and share one of their regrets for the past year. Then hug each other, forgive where needed, encourage where needed, support where needed. Then throw the pieces of paper into the fireplace to symbolize a fresh start. For me, for example, I want to be more patient with my loved ones. I want to treat each family member kindly.

28. Daily Hugs

Make it a point to give each other a hug a day. It is very uplifting to receive a hug. It will ensure that when your children grow up, you will still hug each other.

29. Daily Laugh

The Bible says "A cheerful heart is a good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." Proverbs 17:22. Life is hard enough. Therefore, make it a point to laugh daily. Laughing together is very therapeutic. It creates an environment where it is safe to tease Mom and Dad. Read here to find out how.

30. Journal for Your Child

Keep a journal for each your children. You can do so by blogging. It would be great to watch your child read it, or when your child reads it with you.

31. Family Crest or Stamp

Design a family crest together. Think of a motto to build into the crest. I got this idea from my Significant Other's family. It will foster a sense of belonging and identity, and help your children to be proud of their family. Use the stamp when you are signing off post cards, when you are sending a card to someone as a family. You can see our family's crest here:

http://momlearnings.blogspot.com/2014/02/design-family-crest-together.html

32. Family Cheers

Have a Battle Cry that is unique yours and identifies you from other family. For example, ours is to put our hands together and say, "Hip hip hooray! NX-FXXXX!" Here is another one which I got this idea from.

Our long version is as follows which I got inspired during my NPCC school days:

Who are we are who are we,
We are we are we are we,
Who are we,
We are we,
We are NX
We are FXXX
We are the NX FXXXX
Hip hip hooray! NX-FXXXX

You can read more here:

http://momlearnings.blogspot.dk/2014/03/create-your-own-unique-family-cheers.html

33. Family Secret Code

I got this idea here. Squeeze each other's hands three times to signal the words "I love you." In the book The Book of New Family Traditions, "On the day of the daughter's wedding, the father squeezed her hand three times as he walked her down the aisle. Only she knew that this was happening, a tiny personal ritual lodged invisibly within one of the grandest and most public, and she says it was one of the most moving moments of her life."

34. Family Call-and-Response Motto

Remember how those football team build up team spirit? They all have a Call-and-Response Motto that goes something like, "Who's got it better than us?" To which the team would respond, "Nobody!" It can work for family and help a family builds a strong identity too. Adapt and have something similar that would suit your family. I got this idea here.

35. Record & Read the Family's Biography

If your family has family biography, you can read the Family's biography together during Weekly Family Meeting (WFM). Through this tradition, it will strengthen your family's culture. You will be able to teach and share with your children his heritage, teach him respect for elders, inspire him to look up to the wise people, teach him about family values and about life.

If your family does not have a family biography, you can start interviewing the older members and writing the stories down. You can read more here:

http://momlearnings.blogspot.dk/2014/02/take-on-book-project-of-recording-down.html

36. Bedtime Story

Although one can read to one's children anytime of the day, there is something special about snuggling up in bed and reading a book just before lights off. It provides a very cosy time and bond you to your child in a magical way. And children whose parents read to them tend to do better in school, be more competent in reading and have a larger vocabularies.

37. Family Sleep-In

Once every two weeks, let the children drag their mattresses to your bedroom floor and sleep together with you.

Once a month, allow your older children to sleep in your bed where you talk into the wee hours of the morning. Spend the next morning having breakfast in bed with them. Try having coffee, tea, or milk with a couple of cookies or muffins.

38. Super Family Sleep-In

Once a month, drag all your mattresses downstairs and sleep in the living room floor altogether with your children. (There's no good reason why as we all have our beds other than it's great fun.) Switch off the lights and light candles (you can use the fake candles for safety). The candle lights somehow helps to create a cozy conducive environment for family-togetherness. You can spend the evening talking about old family memories, or future aspirations.

39. Cozy Closet Night

Once every quarter, sleep in the walk-in wardrobe as a family. Chit chat, play cards and tell stories. Someone else has the same idea too.

Here is a post on our Cozy Closet Night:

http://momlearnings.blogspot.dk/2014/09/cozy-closet-night-sleeping-in-closet.html

40. Sleeping in Kitchen

Once a year, drag your comforters and sleep in the kitchen. The children will find it thrilling and will remember for the rest of the lives.

Here is a post on our sleeping in the kitchen:

http://momlearnings.blogspot.dk/2014/10/sleeping-in-kitchen.html

41. Sleeping in Tent

After kicking off summer with a BBQ, sleep overnight in a tent in the garden or the balcony and tell a story under the stars. If you don’t have a balcony, nobody says that you can’t put up a tent in the living room and sleep in it. Doing something different than sleeping on the bed brings excitement, even if it is in the living room. During at times like that, you will see your children open up and share deeply as a family. For families without a garden or a large balcony, find a favourite campsite.

Here is a post on our camp:

http://momlearnings.blogspot.dk/2012/08/friis-summer-home-camp-2012.html

42. Sleeping in a Cave

To commemorate Christ death and resurrection during Good Friday and Easter, make a cave with sheets and chairs, etc. and sleep in the "cave," representing Jesus' tomb. Read a story of Easter in your cave in torch light or candlelight.

43. Sleep on the Floor with "Hay"

Each Christmas, give up your beds and sleep on the floor together to remember what they have endured, as Mary, Joseph and Jesus did that first Christmas. Read a story on the birth of Jesus as you hit the "hay" :-) Some pictures here:

http://www.familyfecs.com/2014/12/sleeping-on-floor.html

http://home.scarlet.be/~pin22191/minicampingen.htm

44. Browse Photo Album

Once a year, browse through old photo albums together. It will bring back a lot of good old memories and create conversation topics and help bond the family. See our post here:

http://www.familyfecs.com/2015/04/a-photo-album-to-mark-end-of-early.html

45. Board Game Night

Have a weekly board game, playing cards, jigsaw puzzle or Lego night, rotating among them each week. Turn off the TV, the iPod and the iPhone! Here are some pictures from my family:

http://momlearnings.blogspot.dk/2013/03/board-game-pop-to-shops.html

Here is a list of recommended board games:

http://www.sjovforborn.dk/familiespil/familiespil.asp

46. Star-Gazing

On a clear and warm night, bring your sleeping bags, binoculars, flasks of hot chocolate and go into the garden or balcony. Lie down, watch the night sky and stars through binoculars, talk & share your dreams together. A family that dreams together grow together.

In Denmark, you can go to the Rundtaarn to gaze at stars. Find out more here:

http://www.rundetaarn.dk/besog-observatoriet-i-efterarsferien

Here are some tips how to do it comfortably:

http://www.wikihow.com/Stargaze-Comfortably

Here is how to select a pair of binoculars:

http://www.wikihow.com/Select-Astronomy-Binoculars

Here are more resources in Denmark:

http://www.sjovforborn.dk/artikler/stjernehimlen.asp
http://www.rundetaarn.dk/besog-observatoriet-i-efterarsferien/

47. Camping

Teach your child the joy of setting up a home in the woods, having coffee and fried eggs in the morning, and poking the fire with a stick well into the night. Here is the link to one of the campsites in Denmark:

http://www.vemmetofte.dk/camping

48. Campfire

Once every summer, go to the beach. In the evening, light the fire, eat chocolate and tell stories in the darkness.

49. Snobrød (Danish Bonfire Twistbread)

Once every summer, go to the beach or the countryside, build a campfire at sun-set and make snobrød (Danish twist bread on a long wooden stick) with the family. If you live in the city, you can use a one-time BBQ grill to make snobrød. Here are some pictures from our family:

http://momlearnings.blogspot.dk/2011/06/danish-twistbreadsnorbrd.html

50. Walk in Forest

Go for a walk in the forest.

51. Build a Cozy Hut

When going for a walk in the forest, once in a while, slow down, enjoy the moment and build a cozy hut for your children. It will create a lot of fun and bonding. This is something I need to learn - to slow down and enjoy the moment. It does not come naturally for me.

52. Explore a New National Park or Nature Playground

Here is a listing of all playgrounds in Denmark:

http://www.sjovforborn.dk/detail.asp?I=Naturlegeplads
http://www.naturstyrelsen.dk/Naturoplevelser
http://www.danmarksnationalparker.dk/

53. Canoeing

Once every summer, go canoeing together in a Danish canoe that comes with a cover. Watch the sunset, light the lamp in the canoe, have hot chocolate, sing and share.

http://momlearnings.blogspot.dk/2012/07/joshuas-first-canoe-trip.html

54. Cycling

Go cycling with your family. Explore the forest and take a rest under a tree or watch sunrise together.

You may ask, "Where do we find the time?" One family does it at 6am in the morning. What an early time of the day, but that is a sure way to make memories. There is something special about doing things together either very late at night or very early in the morning. Don't our most memorable memories are those late night talks together while camping?

55. Swimming

Swim 24 laps, thereafter sit by the pool, watch the sky talk about our lives, sharing a drink.

56. Tennis

Find a family sport and exercise together as part of your family tradition. For us, it is tennis, but it can be any sports that your family enjoy.

57. Ice-Skating

Mark the arrival of winter by going ice-skating as a family or skiing. Have hot chocolate under cozy candle-lights thereafter.

58. Sledging

Once a year, go sledging together. It is one of the most effective way to create laughter, great fun and memories... at least for our family. Then have a cozy soaking of feet in basin of hot water while holding a cup of hot chocolate with the hands. You can see more pictures here:

http://www.familyfecs.com/2014/12/j-summary-5y9m24d-sledging.html

59. Horse-Riding

60. After Dinner Walks

Go for regular walks together. When I was a child, my grandparents will always go for a walk together after dinner. When I went to their place, they would take me along, and I always looked forward to it. We would walk up the hill and the park just behind the home. It was very simple, but very cozy and a very memorable experience. And talk comes naturally during walks. Take walks with your family, it can do wonders by walking the problems away and strengthen your family. It will be good for the heart and the soul. Now that we have our own family, we like to take a walk in the forest in our locality.

61. Walkathon/Marathon

Once a year, join a walkathon or marathon as a family. You get to exercise and have fun at the same time. You are also inculcating good exercise habits into your family tradition. I remembered my mum was very sporty, and was active in marathon. I remembered seeing her getting a trophy for it. You can also walk for charity and doing charity as a family together while walking or running.

62. Vacation

Once a year, go on a vacation somewhere together. It doesn't have to be an expensive vacation. It can be a cruise. It can even simply being tourists in your own city. We like to take the Copenhagen canal cruise from Nyhavn once a year. You can read here for more information:

63. Car Vacation

64. Train Vacation

65. Caravan

Once a year, rent a caravan and drive to somewhere together. Cook, eat and sleep in the caravan. Even if daddy does not feel confident to drive a caravan, just drive a symbolic distance and park it stationary in a campsite in substitute of a tent :-)

66. Rent a Hotel Room

I got this idea from here According to this blog, "Staying at a hotel provides a different experience. Rent a room on New Year's eve, bring board games and snacks. Let the kids swim. Have a family slumber party to ring in the new year."

67. Family Retreat

Once a year perhaps at new year's eve, get out of the routine, check into a hotel and have your family retreat. You can also have your family retreat in a cruise. Reflect over the year past, review the family mission statement and plan the week. Then watch the sunset or sunrise together.

68. Watch Sunrise

Once a month, wake up very early and go for morning jog together and then watch the sun rise together and jog back home for a breakfast or café for breakfast.

69. Watch Sunset

Once a quarter, watch sun set together. There is something about watching sunset that helps us appreciate the passing of time and gain more appreciation of one another. Here are some pictures from our family:

http://momlearnings.blogspot.dk/2013/07/sunset.html

70. Meteor Watching

I got this idea from here. Once a year, wake up early, dress warmly, prepare hot chocolate, drive somewhere clear and with less light pollution, lie down on a blanket and watch for meteors and try to identify the different constellations together. Here is a calendar for meteor:

http://stardate.org/nightsky/meteors

71. Planting

Once a year, mark the coming of spring by planting herbs, sunflowers, carrots, etc. See the growth of the plants together with your kids. Here are some pictures from our family:

http://www.familyfecs.com/2011/04/montessori-activity-growing.html
http://www.familyfecs.com/2015/04/planting.html

72. Visit a Farm

Once a year, mark the arrival of spring by going to the farm and see the dancing cows being let out to the fresh air and smell of spring. Visit a different farm each year, and it will also introduce your children to nature and farming.

73. Strawberries Picking

Once a year, mark the harvest season by going strawberries picking or apple picking. The excitement of eating your own strawberries that you pluck will be unforgettable for your kids.

74. Make a Snowman

Once a year, build a snowman together with your children, and take a photo for memory. You can see more pics and our post here:

http://www.familyfecs.com/2015/01/j-summary-5y10m20d-making-snowman.html

75. Water-gun

Let your hair down. Once a year during summer, play water-gun together or go to a water park together. Your kids will love you for being a kid with them, and allowing them to get wet and all messy.

76. Movie Day

Have a movie day once a quarter and eat popcorns, rice cakes or curry together, depending on which culture you come from :-)

77. Take An Old Train Ride

Once a year, take an old train ride together with the kids. It is a tradition that we do once a year. J loves this. You can see more pictures here:

http://momlearnings.blogspot.dk/2012/05/joshua-summary-3y1m29d-visit-to-odense.html

For those in Denmark, here are the websites to enquire:

www.jernbanemuseet.dk, http://www.veterantoget.dk

78. Go Fishing in a Tongkang

Once a year, hire a fishing boat and go fishing for a day. Growing up in Singapore, my grandfather owned a tongkang (Chinese junk boat) , and he would take us for a ride in his tongkang. It was not so much the fishing than the carefreeness and joy of being together. We would sit right in front of the tongkang, enjoying the sea breeze and each other's company.

When in Singapore, you can hire fishing boats from here:
http://www.deepseafishing.sg/

79. Go on a Cruise

Once a year, take a cruise together and tell stories together in a cabin.

80. Take a Course Together

Once a year, take a course together as a family. For example, take a course in making sushi together. It will give you ideas for meal time where everyone participates and where everyone hones his/her skill together. It gives you something common to talk about. You develop as a family.

Here are pictures of our sushi courses:

https://www.facebook.com/elaine.friis/media_set?set=a.10151659432623348.1073741827.705043347&type=3

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.29483483347.38991.705043347&type=1&l=482dde2605

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.29478628347.38985.705043347&type=1&l=66fe8f420a

81. Watch Ballet

Once a year, watch a ballet performance together.

82. Barbershop Visit with Dad

I got this idea from here. "Make the child's visit to the barber shop a big deal. Take pictures of him getting his ears lowered and take him out for breakfast or lunch afterwards. From then on, get your haircuts together."

83. Yearly Giraffe Measurement

I got this idea here. Make it a tradition to take the height measurement of your children on their birthdays.

84. 5th/15th Birthday Capsule

Idea adapted from here. On your child's 5th birthday, have him fill a time capsule with some of the things he likes and a note to himself. Open it a decade later on his 15th birthday.

85. Giving a Memory Box as a Present

Instead of sealing the time capsule for 10 years, keep the collection of mementos of the year in a box instead, so that your child can look through them and remember the year gone by. The box should be kept where he can look through them whenever he wishes.

86. New Privilege/New Responsibility Cards

I got this idea from here. On the day of your child's birthday, present your child with two envelopes. One envelope is labelled, "New Privilege" the other envelope is labelled "New Responsibility." Provide an age appropriate privilege and responsibility each year.

87. First Cake Cut Wish

I got this idea here. Let the birthday boy or girl make another birthday wish when making the first cut into the birthday cake.

88. Nose Grease

I got this idea from here. Ambush the birthday child and have his or her nose greased with butter. The buttered nose signify the slipping away of all bad things.

89. Balloon Canopy

Have the birthday child sit in the middle on a chair with the canopy of balloons above. Have your camera ready, release the canopy for the balloons to fall out and watch the children have fun and laughter with the balloons :-) You can read more here:

http://momlearnings.blogspot.dk/2011/08/birthday-ideas-balloon-canopy.html

90. A Birthday Letter

Write a letter to your child and present to him on his birthday. Here is our letter to our child:

http://momlearnings.blogspot.dk/2011/04/letter-to-joshua.html

91. Montessori Birthday

Montessori provides a very meaningful way of celebrating a child's birthday. Have the child walk around the "sun" to signify the passing of a year reaching his birthday. Tell the development of your child during that year. You can read more here:

http://momlearnings.blogspot.dk/2011/04/montessori-activity-unique-meaningful.html

92. Edible Play Dough

Have the children make edible play dough together. You can get the recipe here:

http://momlearnings.blogspot.dk/2011/11/how-to-make-healthy-tasty-edible.html

93. Top of Staircase

If you are living in a double-story house, in the morning of the birthday, have your child to sit at the top of the stairs until breakfast is ready, before coming down and open presents.

94. Special Birthday

One tradition is the “Special Birthday”. It was a random day with no real significance where mom would bring one of the kids breakfast in bed and that child got to choose where we ate for dinner and received a present. We never knew who or when it would be but it was a great way of making us feel special on “ordinary” days.

95. First Day of School Photo

One the first day of school, take a picture of your children in front of the house or door-step. Years down the road, it will give you and your children many nostalgic memory. You will enjoy seeing the growth of your child from the pictures.

96. First Day of School Note

To calm your child down on the first day of school, make it a family tradition to leave a note of encouragement either in their lunchbox, or on sms. It will bring a smile on their face when they return to the classroom.

97. Parent/Teacher Conference Note

I got this idea here. When you go to the Parent/Teacher meeting, leave a note on your child's desk telling him how neat his desk was, how nice his artwork on the wall was, and one nice thing that the teacher had said about him. Your child will look forward to finding the note.

98. Listen to Audio CD During Drives

Have audio books and songs ready in the car. Put it on each time you are driving the kids to a sports game or a lesson or running errands and make it part of your weekly routine. When they are older, they can listen to audio books such as "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens" or audio sermons.

99. College Acceptance Celebration

I got this idea here. Celebrate and make memories by buying everyone in the family a T-shirt with the school logo and take a picture together.

100. Full Moon Gazing or Celebrate Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival

Once a year during Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival or once a month during full moon which occurs roughly every 29 days, go for a walk and watch the moon. Light a lantern and walk with the children. You can sing a song as you walk with the lantern. Children will find it fascinating and unforgettable. Here are some pictures from our family:

101. Countdown Christmas with Books

I got this idea here. You can count down Christmas by reading one book each night during December. Here is the book list:

https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/christmas-books-for-children
http://simpleasthatblog.com/2013/11/family-tradition-christmas-book-countdown.html

102. Christmas Advent Calendar

Once a year, make or buy a Christmas calendar with a little token present for each day Dec 1 till Dec 24. If you are a Christian, each little present can be accompanied by a story related to Christmas and Jesus. Here are some pictures from my family:

http://momlearnings.blogspot.dk/2013/12/advent-calendars.html

http://momlearnings.blogspot.dk/2014/12/making-advent-calendar.html

103. Nativity Scene

Inspired by Having Fun At Home, once a year, celebrate Christmas by recreating the scenes at Bethlehem. Turn off the lights and light candles for the evening. Here are some pictures from our family:

http://momlearnings.blogspot.dk/2014/02/playmobil-nativity-scene.html

104. Candlelight Service on Christmas Eve

Attend candlelight services on Christmas Eve together as a family. Singing Christmas carols with lights off but only candlelight brings on a very different ambience that is very memorable.

105. Carolling

Go Christmas carolling together as a family with your church to an old folks home, bringing cheers to people as a family. I did this as a kid (although not with my family) and it brought back great memories. There is something special about being in a bus together, singing along with guitar and going to place to place to sing carols. We also carolled in Orchard Road in Singapore. It was great fun!

106. Christmas Stocking

Once a year, fill stockings with small presents at the end of the children's beds on Christmas morning which they can open as soon as they wake up.

107. Gingerbread Men

Once a year for Christmas, bake gingerbread men together. You can let your kids decorate it with white chocolate. Give away to friends and neighbours.

Here are some pictures from our family:

http://momlearnings.blogspot.dk/2014/12/healthy-gingerbread-menjulens-smakager.html

108. Gingerbread House

Once a year for Christmas, make a gingerbread house and assemble it with a gift inside for your children without the children seeing it. Then decorate it as a family. Open it on Christmas Eve to receive the gifts. The children would love it.

109. Harvesting Pine Nuts

This is the season to look out for pine cones at the supermarket (cost 20 DKK per pine cone) and see how it "hatches" the pine nuts in 8-10 weeks. Here are some pictures from our family:

http://www.familyfecs.com/2014/12/cozy-danish-christmas-tradition-pine.html

110. Make Christmas Decoration with Nature

Make a Christmas decoration with pine needles, acorn, etc. You can even use the pine cone for Christmas decoration, before it hatches out the pine nuts :-) Here are some pictures from our family:

http://www.familyfecs.com/2011/12/heritage-education-fun-with-danish.html

111. Decorate Orange & Cinnamon

This is a Danish tradition of poking an orange with cinnamon and hanging it up. It gives a good smell.

112. Almond in Ris-a-la-mond

Once a year, we have the Danish tradition that on christmas eve we eat a rice pudding with a whole almond hidden in it. Whoever found the almond is given a present.

113. Out with Old, In with New

Have a Christmas tradition of requiring them for the same number of presents they receive for Christmas that they have to give away the same number of their old toys/clothes. They can donate or discard them.

114. Burning Old Christmas Tree

Dry up your Christmas tree, go to the beach and burn it on New Year's Eve. Incorporate the burning of regrets into this.

115. Putting up a Sketch

Once a year, encourage the children to work together to put up a sketch for Christmas, sharing their progress for the year made in music or piano, or putting up a sketch enacting the nativity scene.

116. Project Phantom Family

Christmas is as much able giving as about receiving presents. Our children today are so fortunate to receive so many presents during Christmas. Teach the meaning of Christmas by giving and serving. Rent the video "Magnificent Obsession" and discuss the movie. Make a special treat or a hamper filled with food and goodies. Place a note to your neighbour and tell them the things they did which you are grateful for. Or you can make a hamper containing food, bread, canned food, household items, etc. along with a note to a welfare home, children's home or old folk's home. End the note with, "Love, from the Phantom Family" or "The Phantom Family strikes again!" Ring the door bell and run like wildfire. The thrill of being anonymous, plot, drama and mystery will make a great adventure. It will also teach your children the principle of anonymous service and integrating it into your family life.

117. Give Up a Meal

During the week before Christmas, give up a meal and pray during that time for the poor, hungry and spiritually lost in the world.

118. Watch a movie that remembers the life of Christ

Here are some videos on Jesus for children on youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dn0iwWrkgb0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GH46G-n8ulA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbtMopFS49o
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-16Ber1iLo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hI2z_4fnAVc
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_films_based_on_the_Bible

More ideas for Christmas here:

http://www.familyfecs.com/2014/12/keeping-christ-in-christmas.html
http://www.familyfecs.com/2014/12/our-familys-christmas-traditions.html
http://www.familyfecs.com/2014/12/danish-christmas-traditions.html

119. Calligraphy on Chinese New Year

Draw 福 (fu) on red paper and hang them upside-down around the house.

120. Spring Cleaning

Once a year, do spring cleaning of the home together as a family. Let the children put on swim suits and slide on the wet floor while you are mopping the floor. I got this idea here. For Chinese, it is a tradition to do spring cleaning once a year, and I remember growing up, watching and helping my mum with spring cleaning to usher in the Chinese New Year.

You can read more here:
http://www.familyfecs.com/2016/01/annual-spring-cleaning.html

121. Chinese Angbaos

When I was young, my mum would hide an angbao under my pillow, on Chinese New Year's Eve when we slept, and we could open it on the first day of Chinese New Year the next morning when we woke up :-) Here are some pictures of opening angbaos from our family:

http://momlearnings.blogspot.dk/2012/01/montessori-activity-inserting-chinese.html
http://momlearnings.blogspot.dk/2014/02/j-summary-4y10m27d-angbaos-red-packets.html

122. Practical Life Day

Once every two weeks, everyone put on your work clothes, roll up your sleeves and give one area of the home to give it a good scrub. This will teach your children the essential life skills and at the same time bring home the value that we belong to the family and we all help and work as a team to maintain the cleanliness of the home.

123. Carve Jack-O-Lantern

Buy a pumpkin and carve a smiling face with Daddy. Then read the The Parable of the Pumpkin Patch, which tells of how God is like the farmer, and we are like the pumpkins, chosen by Him, our cores are made clean by Him and given His light. May this halloween filled your lives with the light of God's love. You can see more pictures here:

http://momlearnings.blogspot.dk/2013/10/halloween.html

124. Have a Clear Your Calendar Day

Every quarter, have a Clear Your Calendar Day, where you have nothing planned on that day, do nothing, but simply spending the day with your children and spouse, doing whatever it is that they like to do.

125. New Home Dedication Tradition

This idea is found here. Have three items at the house warming party or for dinner at the new home - bread, salt and wine:

Say, "Bread… that this house may never know hunger."
[Pass the loaf of bread around the table.]
Say, "Salt… that life may always have flavor."
[Pass the salt around the table.]
Say, "Wine… that joy and prosperity may reign forever."
[Pass the bottle of wine around the table. Substitute it with grape juice for children.]

Then read a verse from the Bible and say a prayer. Here are some suitable verse:

http://www.openbible.info/topics/house_dedication

126. Mortgage Burning Party

I got this idea here. The idea is that once you pay off the mortgage, throw a party with your family and ceremoniously burn your mortgage agreement.

127. Mission Trip

Once a year, go on a mission trip as a family. Serve the less fortunate. Go and visit prison.

128. Family Devotion Time

Once a week, worship God, pray and read the Bible together as a family. This is something I aspire for my family, but we have not achieved it yet.


129. Sing Together

Once a week, sing together as a family. Sing a song or nursery rhyme during Bedtime and do that from your child is an infant. Many values and Bible verses are best remembered through songs.

130. Pray Together

Don’t leave home without giving each other a hug and saying a little prayer. It has been our tradition for the past 8 years that every morning before stepping out of the main door, we will give each other a hug and say a little prayer for each other. It makes me feel very loved when we parted each morning each on our way to work. Years from now, the main door will bring back lots of sweet memories.... You can read more here:

http://momlearnings.blogspot.dk/2010/12/dont-leave-home-without-giving-each.html

131. Weekly Family Meeting Night (WFMN)

Once a week, have a family meeting to review and sync calendar, resolve conflicting schedules, plan meals for the week, discuss transportation needs, maintain communication, teach values, etc. You can read more here:

http://momlearnings.blogspot.dk/2014/02/how-to-implement-weekly-family-time-wft.html

132. Weekly Family Fun Night (WFFN)

Once a week, have fun together doing fun stuff, and if not, just laugh and relax together. WFF is important because it provides a way to show unconditional love and acceptance for children, thereby building self-esteem of children based on Existence. It doesn't have to be expensive. It should ideally not be used as withdrawal of privileges during discipline of children. You can read more here:

http://momlearnings.blogspot.dk/2014/02/what-to-include-for-weekly-family-fun.html

133. Date One-on-One (DOO)

Once a month, it is important to spend time with your spouse without children around.

http://www.familyfecs.com/2014/04/date-one-on-one-doo-with-your-spouse.html

Once a month, it is important to spend time one-on-one with each child, where the agenda is set by the child and he or she picks whatever he or she wants to do. This means one parent and one child. As soon as a third person is introduced, the dynamic changes. The basic relationship building block is one-on-one.

http://www.familyfecs.com/2014/04/date-one-on-one-doo-with-your-children.html

Here is one of ours DOO:

http://www.familyfecs.com/2015/06/j-summary-6y2m27d-date-one-on-one-with.html

134. Create a Family Brand Name

We call our family "The Family FECS". You can sign off greeting cards using your family brand name. This helps to create a strong family identity and culture.

135. A Mommy's & Daddy's Family Tradition Day

What do I mean by Mommy's & Daddy's Family Tradition Day? This means once a year, replicate the dinner that your mum used to prepare during your childhood or your hubby's mum used to make for his childhood. The above is a typical 3-course dinner my mum used to prepare for us freshly daily for us. You can read more here:


http://www.familyfecs.com/2015/11/a-mommys-daddys-family-tradition-day.html

136. Sick Day Family Tradition

This is our Sick Day Family Tradition - cold towel on the forehead passed down from my side of the family to bring down the temperature and give relief; and the honey pill passed down from Mr. FECS' side of the family (Mr. FECS will mix Panadol pounded into powder with honey, that he learned from his dad).

You can read more here:

http://www.familyfecs.com/2015/11/fecs-sick-time-family-tradition.html

137. National Day

Once a year, stand and sing the National Anthem and recite the National Pledge during National Day, when we wake up in the morning. Here are some posts:

http://www.familyfecs.com/2010/12/teaching-joshua-singapores-national.html

Here is a family picture of our SG50 National Day:

http://www.familyfecs.com/2015/08/happy-50th-birthday-singapore.html

138. Crazy Family Day

Once a year, do one really crazy thing together:

1. Sleep in washroom

2. Have fun with shaving cream

3. Build a tree house

4. Sleep in closet

5. Sleep in "pretence hay" on the floor

139. Volunteering

I got this idea from "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families" book. This is a great and fun way to create a culture of service in your family. You could also designate one day a month, where your family serve at a soup kitchen or a homeless shelter, or visit a old folk home, etc.

Here is an activity centre for senior people where you can volunteer:

http://www.aktivitetscentret.dk/22261398

Volunteering opportunities in Denmark for families and kids at risk:

http://www.frivilligjob.jobbank.dk/job/34463/familiekurser-med/frivillige-til-familiekurser-med

Here is a volunteer job site for Denmark:

http://frivilligjob.jobbank.dk/

You can read more here:

http://momlearnings.blogspot.dk/2014/03/creating-culture-of-service-in-your.html

If you don't have children, having family traditions is still very important as they can help cement a marriage. Here are some ideas for couples without kids:

1. Have a weekend lie-in listening to Sunday Love Songs on iPod.

2. Getting away over an anniversary weekend.

3. Using silly phrases that mean a lot the couple, but nothing to anybody else.

4. Candles on a Saturday night.

5. Swapping resolutions on New Year's Eve.

6. Even simply never going to sleep without a kiss.

Four elements of effective family traditions:

When you create your own family tradition, make sure you consider the following four ‘MUSTS’:

1. Communicate Clearly

Communicate to the family that you plan to do this regularly, even to the point that you set specific dates and time. For example, every year at Spring Break, we go camping at a great nearby state park… we plan on it.

2. Make an Effort

Work diligently to create memories. It takes time to make memories, but kids don’t remember time… they remember memories.

3. Keep It Simple

As you make memories, remember to keep it simple. Simple is always best, especially as we live in a overly complex world.

4. Create Teachable Moments

This is something you have to prepare for. When you get that brief Kodak moment, be prepared to share something special, intimate, and concise. Tell your kids that you love them and are proud of them every chance you get! I got a lot of inspiration from reading this book: Power of Teachable Moments




Additional Information:
If you have more ideas to share on what your family do to create cozy family tradition, I would love to hear it :-)

I am inspired by these two books and I found many insights about how to manage my family, which I would like to share. You can also find these books from Amazon. This book is simple and easy to read. It is thin and can be finished in a short time. I finished reading it in 2 evenings:



This book is on the other hand a little harder to read, but is jam-packed with very structured and well illustrated principles, which challenges one to a reach a higher goal in one's family:



References and other ideas:

- The Sixty Minute Family by Rob Parsons

- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families by Stephen R. Covey




- “Treasuring God in our Traditions” by Noel Piper http://www.amazon.com/Treasuring-God-Traditions-euml-Piper/dp/1581348339





1 comment:

  1. How much I am learning from your blog. I already sent the link of your blog to my sisters.

    ReplyDelete

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