The Importance of Traditions for Children’s Development

Think back to your childhood. What did your family do each year around specific holidays or events? Did you relish the familiar activities, even when they seemed a little silly or outdated? Did you start traditions with your best friends as well?

Human beings love tradition, and they are an especially important part of children’s development. While it might not seem like a big deal at the time, events that can be repeated and replicated from year after year serve as excellent opportunities to learn, bond and grow. This is why many cultures include rituals, traditions, and guidelines, particularly around the holidays. Decades ago, when the country was more homogenous, these traditions carried over into the media, economy, and other elements, but in today’s world, we have a huge variety of cultures to choose from. So how do you help your children to define themselves and enjoy traditions?

Regardless of your religion or culture, you get to define for yourself and your family what your values and routines are. For some, that means a holiday spent travelling and visiting relatives. For others, it can be as simple as a New Year’s Day breakfast at your favorite diner in New Jersey. Perhaps you celebrate good grades with a milkshake, or stop by for dessert after a late-night choir concert.

Whatever your traditions are for your family, know that they fill your children with excitement and stability. This helps to preserve these great memories and helps create a future- and past-oriented mindset, instead of one that focuses only on the very present moment. You may not realize it now, but these are the sorts of stories your family will be able to talk about for years to come, bringing up those “remember when…?” moments that are a joy for everyone.

This holiday season, start a new tradition with your family—one that goes beyond just giving gifts. Share a tradition of laughter, smiles, jokes, and fun!