Family rituals are practices that the family follow on a regular basis.
It is a common knowledge that quality family time helps build and maintain strong family ties. In the environment expat families live in – regularly changing residential places and as a result for children, schools and friends – maintaining family rituals is of greater importance.
Your family most likely has rituals in place, so take this as an invitation to extend your existing family traditions to something even more exciting and bonding.
Sharing food. It is a part of many traditions to gather as a family to share meals. Important events, daily routines, common joys and also issues are discussed while at table.
If your children are grown up enough, start the process together from the very preparation of the meal. While you are cooking together you can, in a subtler way, find out precious information on their current feelings, emotions, expectations and fears.
Ask open-ended questions. Allow your child some time to reflect and reply. Do not fill in the blanks, let your child uncover his inner world. When children are asked open-ended questions, it shows them their opinions, ideas and thoughts matter. You want to know what they think. You value their opinion. Therefore, asking open-ended questions says to a child their contribution matters.
All of this goes to strengthening your child’s positive self-esteem and self-image, as well as strengthening your relationship with your child. Based on the answers provided, you can address any issues discovered during the meal, or continue the conversation one-on-one if needed.
Sports and outdoor activities. Practice of sports and simple outdoor play can create a significantly stronger connection between children and parents. If you naturally tend to team up girls (mother and daughter) V boys (father and son), or other combinations your family tend to follow, you can reverse this tendency in the play.
This might give you a different insight into how members of your family relate to each other, and give a space for new interesting interactions and angles in communication. Furthermore, dynamic and fun play will help you and your family to discard any accumulated tension and other negative emotions.
Story-telling at bedtime. Story-telling helps to develop creativity and a wider range of vocabulary. Encourage children to use whole sentences when inventing the plot rather than fragments or phrases. Skillfully guide the plot to an issue that your child or your family might temporarily face. This will allow the child to develop problem-solving, use of cognitive skills as well as provide the necessary healing.
Anna Glazkova is a mother of two children aged three and seven. She is interested in child psychology, especially early years development. Founder of The Giving Tree Preschool and Primary, Anna also teaches parental, regular and radiant child yoga programmes.