Traditions Aren’t Just for the Holidays!

Well,  the holidays are almost behind us.  The warm and happy feelings that we get from spending time together as a family, needed end because the calendar says January.  Just the opposite is true.  It’s a wonderful time, to emphasize ordinary, everyday life traditions.

My family enjoys family meal time.  But we haven’t always!  We try to get in at least 4 family meals together each week.  Several years ago after my husband made some life changes,  we made a plan  to make eating and talking together a priority.   I used to hear lots of complaints—“we’re eating too early”, “I’m not hungry”, “I don’t like that.”, and  “I’d rather sit in front of the television”.  But, as a family,  we all agreed that it was important for us to spend time together and family meals seemed like the place to start.  There are no complaints now and certainly no regrets.

Start a family physical activity time.   After dinner walks  or bike rides are a great place to start.  Traditions can easily become habits!  May think about trying new physical activities such as bowling, gardening, sledding, ice skating, swimming, or yoga.

Maybe it’s time to arrange for special time with each child.  My kids are almost adults and this is still really important.   It is important that each child in a family gets “alone-time” with a parent on a regular basis. Volunteer or plan a community service activity as a family. Every community has unique needs that you and your family can help address such as picking up litter, volunteering at a nursing home, planting flowers for an elderly neighbor, or buying a toy for a needy child at Christmas.

What’s important is making your family important.  What better way than sharing the holidays and every day of the year.

Janet Smith

Janet Smith is a Human Science Specialist-Family LIfe with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. She currently provides family life programming in eight counties in southeast Iowa. Janet is a "parenting survivor". She is the mother of Jared-21, Hannah-20, and Cole-15. She and her husband, David have faced many challenges together, including their son Jared's Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy diagnosis.

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4 thoughts on “Traditions Aren’t Just for the Holidays!

  1. Family mealtime is a great time to touch base with everyone in the midst of busy schedules. Car time is also a great time to stay connected during those preteen years. We had a deck of conversation cards that we used periodically to change the focus from talking about the daily grind of activities.

  2. My sons and husband have a regular tv show they watch together on Sunday nights. This has allowed for a time for my daughter and I to spend specific time together each Sunday night.


  3. It’s sounds like a great way to schedule regular, reoccurring “dates” with each other! I would bet that EVERYONE looks forward to Sunday nights.

  4. I’ve got teenagers…and we still find spending time in the car as a great opportunity to reconnect. It’s can almost be like a mini-retreat. It can be hard to find time and places to remove distractions from our busy, daily lives. It takes “intentional planning” to make family time happen. Janet

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