Having regular routines can be a helpful strategy for busy parents and kids, like the time we rise from sleep each day or what time we eat. Some parents even rise first so they have some “me” time before the kids wake. The children may have scheduled piano lessons or baseball practice followed by homework completion… all making up what we know as a family routine. Now that summer has arrived, a new routine may include swimming lessons, outdoor adventures, and time for rest and relaxation.
Rituals, on the other hand, may be symbolic. For example, the celebration of a family birthday. This special occasion might also include enjoying a family meal and a “favorite dish” requested by the birthday member! The birthday ritual itself takes on special meaning and perhaps has been shared over generations. Families may have stories to share about how the rituals celebrated were started and why they continue to be meaningful.
Routines and rituals play a special role in our families and often reflect family values. When families face “tough times,” the routines can be interrupted. However, parents who maintain routines during the chaos will find they can be a protective factor, which may help the family feel some stability during the “tough time.”
We are connecting rituals and routines to tough times now, but The Science of Parenting team produced two bonus podcasts relating to specific losses in the pandemic (be sure to go back and listen to those, too, if you haven’t heard them already!):