When I became a mum, I had big visions of what it would be like. I could see myself with all the time and patience in the world. Loving every moment.
It didnt take long for me to figure out that life with kids is a lot more mundane than that. It can also be a heck of a lot busier than I planned on it being. While I craved being present, practicing gentle attachment style parenting, the reality was a lot different.
So I set about figuring out how to slow down the pace, stop wishing away the days and find joy in the every day.
Along my journey of slowing down my motherhood, I discovered some lovely little things called rituals and they help me to feel like I’m doing my best work as a mum. Rituals slowed us down. Rituals helped us create memories out of moments that might ordinarily be the most challenging.
You can apply the 5 elements of a ritual to almost any routine in your day and you’ll soon find that family life is a lot more connected and enjoyable than you thought possible. By elevating your routines in this way, you won’t need to find specific time for ‘quality time’. It will just happen!
So what are the 5 main elements to rituals?
A Marker Of Time
A ritual marks a point in time – whether it’s a bedtime story before bed, Friday family movie night or hanging a stocking for Santa, rituals have significance because of when you do them.
For children, this is soothing and helps them feel like life is predictable. A predictable life holds comfort and safety. Same goes for adults actually!
Beautiful rituals happen in the same place, again, to create that sense of knowing and predictability. Bedtime stories happen in bed, Sunday morning pancakes happen at the kitchen bench and the Easter egg hunt happens in the yard – you get the drift.
Objects of Significance
While rituals don’t have to cost a lot, or even any, money, they are elevated by objects of significance. This isn’t as complicated as it sounds either. It can simply be a favourite story book, a special plate to leave Santas treats on, the same type of popcorn for movie night.
Special Words or Sayings
Think of this as family jokes or certain ways of saying goodbye. Maybe Dad always sings the words to a certain song wrong or you have funny names for each other.
We wish each other happy birthday or merry Christmas so why not bring that joy into the every day!
Repeated and Specific Order
To make something feel special and plant it as a cherished memory, it has to be repeated regularly over a period of time. This is a long game for us as parents. At some stage your kids will be the ones following up with you to make sure they happen properly!
What we do once matters less than what we do repeatedly.
That said, rituals should naturally evolve over time as your family grows and changes.
For example, if you have family board game night, you might start with Bingo with young ones but as they get older you’ll start playing more challenging games.
This method also helps you to instil the family values you hold most dearly in a really beautiful way. Having special family rituals will allow your children to feel connected, supported and have an underlying sense of self worth and comfort as they grow.
Ultimately, if you are interested in developing strong family bonds, approach your parenting journey with gentle methods and slow life down for everyone, elevating your daily routines by adding in some elements of ritual is a wonderful way to achieve this goal.
Want to create your own cherished family rituals?
I’ve created The Slow Guide To Creating Family Rituals to support you to do just that!
Creating Family Rituals