I took this picture last week watching families during the 4th of July fireworks in Portland. Moms, dads, and kids had picnics and gathered on bridges to celebrate. It made me wonder. What does your family do during the holidays? How important do you think it is to establish traditions for your family that become memories? There is an intrinsic value in creating traditions for your children. Experts claim that good traditions are healthy for kids.

• Traditions can give children a sense of security.

It is important to establish some things for your family that will be consistent when everything else is constantly changing.

• Traditions can build a bond between family members.

Spending quality time together with extended family during strategic times can have the potential to nurture important relationships.

• Traditions can remind everyone they are connected to a bigger story.

They are actually a great time for storytelling. You can tell your kids stories about them when they were younger that they forgot. Your parents will probably tell your children stories about you that you would rather them not know. But there is an unusual power in a child hearing the stories that connect them to a bigger family.

• Traditions are a strategic opportunity to communicate the value of family.

Here are a few traditions my parents handed down to me.

Every Christmas, my dad would wire our house with external speakers and play Christmas carols outside for the entire neighborhood. (If he tried that today, he would probably get fined by the Homeowners Association.)

Every summer, we would spend a week on the farm where my mom grew up. (One summer they actually paid my cousin to pay me to work for a week bailing hay, just so they could see me do hard labor.)

Every Sunday night, a group of families we know would go over to someone’s house and play games. (I think I learned the importance of community more after church than during church.)

It is even important to create traditions that are just between you and your kids.

  • How and when you say “I love you”
  • What you do when you tuck your kids into bed
  • How you spend Saturday mornings
  • What do you do for Sundays at lunch

Let’s collect some ideas over the next few days to generate different ways parents can create traditions for their kids. Tell us one or two traditions that either you or your parents created that have had a positive effect in your family.