When I think back to my childhood, I inevitably think about all the beautiful rituals that my mom lovingly created for us.
There was the bedtime story reading – something, I’m sure, most parents do with their kids. But still, it was special, it was comforting, it was the perfect way to end a day.
There was the ritual of putting together an Advent calendar story every December– one day at a time for 24 days. Every night, we’d sit down, mom would read a story to us and then we’d add a section to our Advent calendar. It was beautiful and something I treasure until this day.
Then, much later, there was the ritual of us three girls – my mom, my sister & I – watching Germany’s Next Topmodel together. Every Thursday evening, we’d gather in the living room and indulge in a world of beauty, drama and yes, make belief. I loved those evenings where all the sorrows and stressors of the week just floated away and we’d just have a few hours of fun.
Family rituals don’t just provide nice memories, but they also serve as emotional stables in a child’s life, something that’s oh so important when growing up.
So, how can you create rituals with your child as a single mom – even if you’re always pressed on time and short on money.
Here are some ideas for you:
1. Read bedtime stories
Making time for bedtime stories is essential and you should always take 15 minutes to do so. This’ll help your child to realize it’s the time of the day to slow down and go to bed and it’s also extremely beneficial for your child’s mental and emotional development.
2. Create special “family” traditions that are unique to you and your child
For example, say a saying before you begin to eat, create nicknames for each other, bake a cake every Sunday afternoon or dance in your underwear on Saturday nights.
3. Set aside a day and time to do a special project together
Spend some time indulging in your child’s hobby. This’ll make him or her feel seen, heard and treasured. It’ll also give you a glimpse into your child’s universe and you’ll have tons of fun together – I’m sure.
4. Create special holiday traditions
One of the things I’m most looking forward to when it comes to my life with my child is to create special holiday traditions. We had so many beautiful Christmas and Easter rituals that made us look forward to these holidays every year.
Do an Easter egg hunt on Easter Sunday, put your child’s boot in front of the door on December 5th, so that St Nicholas can fill it with candy and a little gift, ring a bell on Christmas morning or Christmas Eve indicating that Santa Claus or Christ Child has brought some presents.
Be creative and start creating those rituals as early as possible.
5. Make household chores a family thing
Who says having to fold laundry, clean the dishes or mop the floor has to be super boring? Put some music on and share these tasks with your kid.
6. Share your highs and lows
Do this either when you put your child to bed or at the dinner table. Give everyone the opportunity to share their highs and lows of the day. This is a great conversation starter and the best way to know what’s going on in your child’s life.
7. Family movie night
You might want to do a family movie night once a month. Let your child decide which movie to watch to make it extra awesome for him/her.
8. Do a staycation every now and then
You don’t have to go somewhere fancy to spend time with your child. Simply stay in your PJs for a day or two, turn off your phone and relax with your little one.
9. The birthday hat
Dedicate one funny/silly hat that the birthday kid is allowed to wear on his/her birthday.
10. Saturday mornings in bed
Let your child come to bed with you on Saturday mornings. Read stories, talk about life, play around or sleep a bit longer. I used to love these mornings in bed with my parents as they were great bonding times.
11. Sunday morning brunch
Go all out on Sunday mornings with pancakes, orange juice, waffles, hot chocolate, eggs and anything else your heart desires. Use this time to catch up with everything that’s going on in your little one’s world. Be sure to turn off the TV, computer and phone and just indulge in each other’s company.
12. Date nights
Have your child take YOU out for dinner once a month. This’ll make your child feel grown up and you also teach him/her some beautiful skills for the dating life.
13. Celebrate the first snowfall with hot chocolate each winter
There’s nothing more touching and more beautiful than seeing the first snow of the year, right?
Add a touch of delight to this spectacle by preparing an extra yummy hot cup of hot chocolate for your child and yourself and just watch the snow fall to the ground together.
What are your favorite family rituals? Share them with us!