“My kids are just too different. They’ll never get along!” Does this sound like you?
I recently asked, “If you have multiple children, what is the biggest struggle just getting them to get along?” Many answers came back about age differences, differences in gender, and differences in ability level. Some moms shared about kids who are neurotypical vs neurodiverse, one child with ADHD and one without, etc.
Differences make things hard. What we need is to find something in common for our kids to bond over. How can we do that as moms? Create shared experiences. Create family rituals to serve as common ground for your kids to relate to each other.
Did you ever go to summer camp? Or have a neighbor who just came to stay with her extended family in the summer? You became the very best of friends over that shared week! You did everything together and were inseparable. At the end of summer camp, what did you always say? “I’ll write to you every day! We’ll be best friends forever!” But then what happened when you got home? You got busy. You didn’t write every day. Did you stay best friends forever?
The shared experience of summer camp was an amazing foundation for a friendship- no matter how different you were from each other. You needed common ground to relate to each other and you found one.
But those shared experiences stopped. And you forgot how to relate to each other. You stopped writing letters. Your BFF status didn’t make it.
Family rituals create that shared experience in our own homes for our kids to find a common ground to relate to each other.
I’m talking religious ceremonies or anything weird here. Just a regular tradition you do as a family.
Here are a few ideas of family rituals you can try starting this week:
- Family Game Night
- Rotate who gets to choose the game.
- Do it the same night each week.
- If the game is too difficult for some family members (there go those differences again!), team up with a parent.
- Family Dinner
- Eat dinner together as often as possible. At least protect a special family dinner night each week.
- Every time, use the same conversation starter to create a ritual or tradition.
- “What is one thing you are grateful about ___?” Could be about your day or about a family member. Rotate family members to list your gratitude for.
- Encourage and model greetings between all family members, including siblings.
- Good morning, good night, hello, good-bye.
- Have fun, have a great day, etc.
- Family Movie Night
- Take turns choosing the movie. Use a calendar to make it an easy system.
- Talk about the movie all the next week. Laugh about it together!
We’ve talked before about how routines create a sense of safety for our kids because they know what is coming next. Well, what do you think family rituals do for our kids, then?
When you stick with your rituals consistently to create the feeling of safety and security. Your kids can depend on this happening each day or week. They find comfort and ease in the repetition while you are building those shared experiences they will connect through and remember.
What family rituals do you already do as a family?
What are you going to try adding this week? Tell me below.