Whether it’s as simple as Friday pizza night or it requires some planning, doing something as a family creates the kinds of memories everyone really cherishes. This year, put busy lives on pause for a bit and make a plan to get started on your own family traditions. We have eight ideas to help get you started.
Family night in
Pick a weekly or monthly night where home is the place to be. Put away those gadgets, so it really counts as time spent together. Whether you choose to cook a meal collectively or to order take-out, it’s all about quality time together. Spice up your reoccurring family night in with board games, new movie releases, old throwback films or trivia.
Annual volunteer project
As a family, pick a cause that has a special meaning and do a yearly service project. Whether it’s serving a meal at your local shelter, adopting a family in need or raising money for a pet shelter, make it a yearly tradition to give back as a family. If you need ideas of where to start, check out CharityNavigator.org to find a good fit.
Create a monthly potluck party, where you invite different groups of friends or families each month. Get to know new families at school or neighbors on your own block with a casual everyone-brings-something-to-share meal. Consider picking a theme such as Italian, finger foods, casseroles or family favorites.
Happy (half) birthday
Celebrate those half-birthdays with half a celebration, whether it’s half of a hamburger or hot dog or half glasses of milk. Toast the half birthday with a half chocolate-half vanilla cake. And only sing half of the happy birthday song.
While all-family outings are great, sometimes it’s nice to take a break and spend quality one-on-one time with a single child. Create a monthly outing where either mom or dad takes one kid for a special outing and lets that child choose the activity. Next month, it’s another child’s turn to be the center of attention. For families with one child, Mom and Dad can take turns every-other month.
What to do with all those photos you take? The perfect solution is making a yearly photo yearbook. Let your child be the star of their own book that highlights all their activities, accomplishments and sweet moments through the year. It will be a collection they cherish for years to come as more and more are added.
Take a walk
Life gets busy, and even busier as your kids get older. So make the time to take family walks, whether just around your neighborhood after dinner or on a forest trail. It’s a timeout from the rush of every day and a way to connect with the kids without distractions.
Whether it’s Saturday morning pancakes or a Sunday night spaghetti supper, make it a point to always have a signature meal together as a family and use it as a time to recharge and catch-up. Teach the kids the recipes and eventually let them do the cooking. The regularity and repetition will make it the meal they cherish and miss when they eventually leave the nest.
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This article originally published in September 2017. It has been updated with the most recent information.