November 24, 2020
Research shows that traditions have a lasting positive impact on kids.
As screen time gobbles up more and more of our family time together, many of us long for the return to family rituals and traditions we cherished as kids. The holidays, in particular, remind us of family holiday traditions that we continue to practice and some that we may have lost along the digital way. But incorporating traditions back into your family routine can not only bring your family closer but can also counteract some of the negative consequences of a “plugged-in” life. From caroling to board games to quirky gift exchanges and ugly sweater contests, Circle can help you find the time to unplug and make traditions old and new a reality this season and beyond.
Family traditions pay immediate dividends
Family traditions—whether they’re holiday traditions or not—have positive benefits for your kids both now and in the future. As your kids are growing up, traditions write the story about your family and play an essential role in shaping your child's identity. When kids understand their past, and when they know that they belong to something bigger than themselves, they will feel a heightened sense of confidence and belonging. And as many parents know, a strong sense of self is crucial these days as our kids deal with issues like cyberbullying or feeling socially isolated due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
But that's only one benefit of instilling family traditions into your kids’ life. Researchers have also found that families who engage in frequent traditions report stronger connection and unity than families who haven't established rituals together. Traditions provide that chance for face-to-face interactions, which happen less and less these days given our online and virtual world. Sharing rituals and traditions together can also build trust between family members and strengthen bonds.
Another vital role of family traditions? They offer comfort and security. Family traditions are a remedy to the stress and anxiety that can come from the craziness in the world around us. Traditions provide grounding in an ever-changing world ruled by the fast pace of technology.
Plan an educational treasure hunt
Family traditions lead to happy childhood memories, the foundation for raising healthy, happy adults. In fact, happy childhood memories are essential to a child's developing brain. A 2018 study by the American Psychological Association found that older adults who have fond memories of childhood, specifically interactions with their parents, tend to be healthier, less depressed, and suffer from fewer chronic illnesses. Previous research found this observation was true for young adults too. The most surprising finding was that we thought the effects would fade over time," said William J. Chopik, Ph.D., lead author of the study, “but these memories still predicted better physical and mental health when people were middle age and older.
Incorporating traditions into our busy lives
So if observing family traditions are so essential to our kids’ current and future well-being, how do we make sure that we weave traditions into our everyday life? First, talk to your family about the importance of family traditions. Discuss the ones you already observe; share stories about childhood traditions that you remember fondly; and talk about new ones that you all might enjoy. Get the whole family to agree on which traditions you will keep, restore, or adopt. Once you have a game plan, you'll need to find time to build these traditions into your schedules.
Try not to be overly aggressive when adding family traditions. Start slow and make sure that you can effectively add a new tradition to your family time before adding others. Circle can help you carve out time away from devices so you can focus on family and build the memories you’ll all remember fondly for years to come. Learn how.