Look at a strong family and chances are, you find one with strong family traditions. Whether it is everyday routines or ways they celebrate holidays, activities that the family does, or how they celebrate special occasions such as Birthdays, these family rituals bring a sense of belonging and familiarity to family members.
Says family therapist Art Cleveland, “Family customs create connections between family members past and present, foster identity through individual participation and establish security through repetition.” Even simple birthday traditions, such as a birthday child woken up to her Dad singing Happy Birthday on her bed, repeated over the years, can enrich a child in many ways:
- Role models – Help establish and communicate what is really important to a family and its members – each other.
- A sense of belonging – Who else does her Dad serenade to? Not many.
- Identity and identification – This is my family. This is what we do when one of us has a birthday.
- Stability and continuity in a fast-paced and hectic world – she can count on this special treatment one specific day a year.
- Connections – to his siblings who enjoy the same birthday wake-up routine, or to his parents childhood if this was their childhood tradition as well.
Birthday traditions are wonderful opportunities for families to celebrate “good times” and make “happy memories.” Give your child that same sense of belonging and security by keeping a few family birthday traditions from year to year.
A birthday tradition might spring from a parent’s own growing up years, be an activity your child enjoys, or be an idea gleaned from a friend.
Be creative and have fun. Remember, A family that plays together stays together.