CONNECTION THROUGH TRADITIONS
What is it? Postive family memories are not only fun, they are actually protective. Research shows that people with a store of positive childhood memories are generally happier and healthier, have better cognitive skills and are more tolerant of others. Plus, they are less likely to develop a mood disorder and are generally more optimistic and more able to cope with stress. (Hartwell-Walker, 2017) How to Address It? Holidays give us an easy opportunity to develop positive memories by establishing rituals and traditions. It does not have to be big or fancy, the trick is to decide to make it a tradition. Truly, pick anything you like or you notice your kids have enjoyed around the holidays - lock it in by:
Provide Running Commentary: talk or comment on what you're doing, laugh about something that happened while doing it, get input when doing it 'which decoration do you like to put on the tree the most?'
Think About the Senses: comment on the smells or something tactile.
Re-hash the Moment Later: create an emotional connection by reminding them of how fun it was last year or simply talking about what you did with younger kids.
What It Looks Like
Perhaps you all come together to decorate the tree. Someone gets the boxes, another picks out favorite ornaments, and, in our house, we laugh about the funny looking angel on top.. By doing this every year, the children old and young will know "We're the Smiths. We love decorating our tree, and that funny angel goes on top!"
Maybe you go to the grandparents and they always have declicious cookies. The children may feel "We are the Jacksons and family is important during holidays and we always get to have such and such cookies."
GOT A MINUTE? Start or reinforce a memory today. Plan some time to do something that goes along with your values and interests. The more shared meaning you find on purpose, the deeper your connection will be. Enjoy!