Traditions Connect our Heritage with our Future


The holidays always bring up feelings of nostalgia and fond memories for me. As parents, we often try to keep things going that we love and leave out the things that are less meaningful.

For example - we always cook the turkey with the breast side down to keep the meat moist, but growing up I remember doing all kinds of crazy things to keep it from drying out - including “dressing” the bird Amelia Bedelia style, complete with a shirt and a tie. I also remember years spent traveling to my cousins houses and time spent with extended family. These are some really wonderful memories.

On our street, we have a tradition of having a Chili-Night pot luck dinner to celebrate neighborliness and friendship right outside our door.

In our children’s’ preschool classes, the teachers traditionally organize a Thanksgiving feast lunch for parents to come in to the classroom. I didn’t realize how important this tradition was to my children until my 2nd grader realized that her class wasn’t doing it this year. Her disappointment really emphasized what a cherished tradition this was for her over the last four years.

“Traditions—routines and rituals that we repeat across time and across generations—provide a sense of family connection and family identity. Young children, who already thrive on routines, seem to especially enjoy participating in family traditions. Also, traditions are special times, usually full of love and a sense of closeness and nurturing.” - Zero to Three

Whatever it is that you choose to do, if you do it consistently the children in your life will come to expect it, cherish, and grow from it.

The links below are chock-full of ideas to help you develop strong family bonds across generations by starting and continuing traditions with grandparents as well as inside your immediate family.

Zero to Three: That was Then: Traditions with Your Grandchildren

Roc Parent: 14 Traditions to start with your Grandchildren

Aha Parenting: Why do Families need Rituals

Aha Parenting: December Traditions with Meaning

PBS Kids: 5 Meaningful traditions for Kids