While little kids aren’t known for making resolutions, introducing a few new family traditions is a great way to start the year. Not only will it help give kids a sense of security, but it’s also a simple way to promote togetherness. Whether your kids are toddlers or school-aged, keep reading to discover 10 family tradition ideas that’ll keep everyone connected this year and beyond. 

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1. Go on family walks. Enjoy some family togetherness and be active at the same time by taking a walk or hike around your neighborhood. This tradition can be a great weekend afternoon activity or monthly exploration. It can also be as simple as finding a local park to explore.

2. Have dinner or breakfast together once a week. Schedules can be crazy and leave mom, dad and kiddos eating meals at separate times, especially during the school year. In 2018, make it a family tradition to eat one meal together at least once a week. Take this idea up a notch by having your kids plan the meal idea, or put them in charge of a dish if they’re old enough to help.

3. Start a gratitude poster. It’s easy to get caught up on the negative things that happen each day. So how about actively focusing on gratitude in 2018? This can be as simple as hanging a poster board in the kitchen and having kiddos and parents write down one thing they’re thankful for each day. Hanging the poster in a common area helps family members see everything that’s positive on a regular basis. 

photo credit: Leah Singer

4. Volunteer as a family. Giving back to the community is a great family tradition to start and a great lesson to teach kids. Many local organizations are always looking for help, or make it really easy to volunteer by finding a way to give back from your own home.

5. Host a monthly family entertainment night. We’re all guilty of mindlessly scrolling through our phones while kids are playing in the next room. Start scheduling one night a month where parents and kiddos play together. Ideas can be a board game or movie night. Pop some popcorn, turn off the electronics and enjoy family togetherness.

6. Start a family book club. Chose a book that you can all read together as a family, and make a point to read together. This can be as simple as reading a Harry Potter book aloud for 10 minutes each evening or having each family member pick their own book and share what they like about it.

7. Have regular parent-kiddo “date” nights. Start a family tradition where dad takes each kiddo for a special date night (or day), and then mom follows with each kid. These dates don’t have to be fancy affairs. They can be as simple as a trip to the movies, or a walk and an ice cream cone. Whatever you do, kids love the individual special time with parents.

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8. Print your photos and display them around the house. When is the last time you printed a photo from your phone? Start a family tradition of printing a few photos every few months and displaying them on the refrigerator and around the house. Ask your kids which photo is their favorite, and print it for their bedroom.

9. Share one good and one bad thing each day. Ask your kids to name one good and bad thing that happened that day, and then you do the same. This is a great way to start a conversation and can be done before bed or as part of dinner. Want more ideas? Check our list of questions to get kids talking! 

10. Start a monthly clean-out tradition. Pick a day each month where everyone in the family cleans out a drawer, closet or cupboard in the house. Then, as a family, bring all the unused toys or books to a donation spot. And if you’re cleaning out kitchen cupboards, take canned goods to a local food pantry. This will give kids a sense of ownership of their home, and also help them focus on giving back.

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What family traditions do you practice? Tell us your ideas in the comments.

— Leah R. Singer