Family rituals

We aren’t always aware of them, but most of us have unique family rituals that teach us important life lessons.

If you haven’t created any rituals for your family or would like to include some new ones, here are some ideas and inspiration! [1]

Sometimes it’s hard to know the difference between rituals and routines. Rituals relate to the idea that “this is who we are” as a group, providing ongoing meaning across generations. [2]

Routines are more about a way of communicating what needs to be done. Rituals are important as they provide families with the opportunity to have stability and a sense of identity as well as slowing down and connecting.

Develop a sense of belonging

  • Have ‘Pancake Sunday’ every weekend.
  • Create special greetings and farewells like, “See you in a soup!”
  • Keep a ‘Gratitude Jar’ throughout the year and read it out on a special day like Christmas or New Years’ Day.
  • Make a special cake for each family member’s birthday.
  • Go on monthly or weekly family excursions like nature walks, bike rides or surfing.

Promote kindness and compassion

  • Find a place to volunteer as a family like a nursing home, animal shelter or community kitchen.
  • During dinner time, each family member shares one kind thing that they did or experienced that day.
  • Practice ‘Loving’ meditation: think of the people in your life that you care about and send them positive vibes. Say things like, “Stay healthy! May you feel happy! Stay safe!”

Build strong family connection

  • Each family member takes turns in cooking a family recipe.
  • Sample dinner from different cultures each month.
  • Have a specific saying when wishing each other good day or good night.
  • When you leave the table, every family member thanks the person who cooked the meal.

Teach responsibility

  • Create a rotating chores chart which changes every week.
  • Each family member is assigned a specific task when setting the dinner table.
  • Collaborate on projects like renovation, harvesting the garden or organising a family trip.
  • Allocate a house cleaning time where the whole family contributes together.

Boost positivity

  • Play ‘High, Low, Buffalo’ where every family member shares the highs and lows of their weeks, and anything else they would like to talk about (“Buffalo”).
  • ‘Family Cuddle Time’ – where everyone piles on top of each other and cuddles for five minutes.

[1] Cullins, A. (2019) 41 Family rituals that teach responsibility, kindness, and compassion (accessed on 5 May 2020).

[2] Fiese, BH. (2015) Family Resiliency Centre (accessed on 5 May 2020).

Page last updated: Monday, 1 November 2021