7 Traditions To Bring Your Family Closer

These sweet ideas create memories and strengthen family bonds.

Jul 3, 2020

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For many, family traditions are the foundation of happy childhood memories. Whether it’s putting up holiday decorations, eating special meals, or celebrating a festival in a unique way, family traditions are often centered around certain times of the year. But you don’t have to wait for the holidays to create memories with your kids! 

Here’s how you can create memories with your children that they’ll cherish for years to come.

Kitchen bonding

Many family traditions revolve around eating or preparing certain foods, especially on holidays. But don’t limit yourself to once or twice-yearly events — there’s never a bad time for the family to gather in the kitchen and cook together. Think weekly “Taco Tuesdays” or “Sunday morning pancakes.” 

“Taste memories tend to be the strongest of associative memories that you can make,”  neuroscientist Hadley Bergstrom told The Huffington Post. If you’re looking for a family tradition that your kids will always remember, bonding in the kitchen is perfect. 

Not only will your kids learn valuable lessons in the kitchen, from teamwork to practical skills like cooking and measuring ingredients, the memories of the food created together will last a lifetime.

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Shake it, together

One great way to bond as a family unit is by getting your blood flowing. With restrictions limiting outdoor options, a dance party in the living room is an easy way to get some physical activity without leaving the comfort of your home.

Put on some oldies but goodies music. Not only will working up a sweat together help improve your health as a family, but you will have a blast. For bonus points, feel free to bust out your most embarrassing dance move, preferably one that was totally cool a few decades ago.

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Daily recap

Even if you live under the same roof, between work, school, and conflicting schedules, it’s easy to lose track of what’s going on in each family member’s life. A great way to catch up is by having a “Highs and Lows” ritual around the dinner table each night, where everyone shares the brightest and toughest point of their day.

Sharing a few words about your struggles and little victories, and listening to the experiences of others, can bring a much-needed sense of perspective to the entire family.

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Hug it out

You know that warm, fuzzy feeling that comes along with hugging a loved one? The benefits of nonverbal affection, more commonly known as physical touch, are undeniable. A brief hug that brings all of you together can reinforce the idea that family will always have your back. It’s also a great way to make sure that everyone feels supported and cared for.

Besides bringing emotional comfort, a Japanese study showed that hugging can radically lower levels of stress hormones within the body. So why not adopt a daily group hug, including the whole family, as a new tradition?

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Secret signal

Some families have special symbols to mean anything from “I have to go to the bathroom” to “I love you,” according to Families.com. The signals could be in American Sign Language or something the family makes up like touching your lips with two fingers.

This is also a subtle way for parents to communicate how much they care for tweens and teens and for them to publicly say “I love you” back even if it is uncool.

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Yearly letters

Most kids have their picture taken annually at school. But while physical changes can be seen across the years, what about emotional development? Looking back, many adults can’t remember feeling any different on the first day of fifth grade versus the first day of sixth grade.

Writing your kids a letter before the start of each school year is an amazing way to keep track of their growth and evolution. Before writing the letter, you can conduct a mini-interview with your kids, asking them about their favorite activities, their friends, as well as their hopes and worries for the upcoming year. 

When they are adults, they will treasure these snapshots of who they were at six or 16 years old. There’s just something magical about seeing a physical letter in your parents’ handwriting.

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Annual getaways

Family trips are an awesome opportunity to explore new places and experiences. Due to recent restrictions and financial concerns, a family getaway may be off the table for now. A family vacation doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank; you can do a camping trip in a nearby national park or a staycation!  

Even if you’re not jetting off to an exotic island, seeing something new in your area will definitely be exciting for your children. A trip to a nearby city or a distant district within your town can also do the trick.

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LAUREN MARCUS, CONTRIBUTOR
Fascinated by storytelling since childhood, Lauren is passionate about the written word. She’s a freelance writer who has covered everything from the latest developments in tech to geopolitics. When she’s not writing, Lauren is interested in genealogical research and family folklore.