Family Rituals

Family Rituals

In traditional societies there are various times in a child’s life, where special ceremonies take place, to mark their growth and development eg puberty. This was often followed by a family or community gathering, and were an important way of acknowledging a milestone, and they were a time to make that child feel special and proud. In our modern society many people celebrate birthdays to acknowledge another years passing, but a lot of our rituals have ceased.


Perhaps you might like to consider introducing some rituals of family celebrations into your home.


In her book: ‘Kids are Worth It’, Barbara Coloroso tells a story… “Years ago someone gave our family a special red plate, part of a European custom to recognise someone in a special way at the dinner table. That red plate became an important part of our family customs for birthdays, welcome-home meals, thank-you lunches and surprise breakfasts.”
Have a chat with your relatives to find out any customs which created bonds in their families, or traditional dishes handed down. You might like to re-start them!

Many years ago I started a tradition in my family. Each Sunday morning we all share a special breakfast. The table is beautifully set with linen, the good crockery, candles are lit, and we share fresh croissants. Even now when my children have left home, they know that if they visit on a Sunday, there’s a special breakfast waiting!

Well known author, Steve Biddulph has written about a special ritual you might like to start for your children – from his book: ‘Living, Laughter & Parenting’. He talks about Birthday Letters. Each year, for your child’s birthday, you write a letter to them, detailing what’s happening in their lives, what they are doing, their achievements, likes, dislikes and events. These Birthday Letters are kept in a special place, and each year a new one is written and added. On their 21st birthday, place all the letters in a folder and present it to them. If you are wondering what to write, here’s an example:


Happy First Birthday!

Right now you are a beautiful black-haired, brown-eyed boy. You have a delightful giggle and burst into laughter, especially when tickled or chased down the hallway.

You spend lots of time playing with your wooden blocks and outside in the garden, where you pull up carrots and wash them in the wheel barrow. You love listening to stories and helping to turn the pages. You surprised us recently when you dragged a brick into the house – so strong!

On the difficult side, you wriggle, squirm and cry when we change your nappy.

Today you discovered noses and pointed to mine, yours and even the dogs’!

Much love to our special boy,
Mum and Dad x x


I didn’t hear about this till my children were in their teens. I changed the idea bit, making a variation for my family. Prior to my daughter’s 21st, I wrote to people who had been significant in her life – family members, special teachers, her gym coach and childhood friends. I asked them to write a one page letter to Anna, recalling an event or memory, or to write about her qualities. Many people decorated the letter with photos. I bound it and presented it to her on her 21st. Her initial reaction was – ‘Oh Mum, how could you write to Mr V.B (her Yr 6 teacher)!’, but she recently told me that the book is her most treasured possession!

What memories will you create?

Happy Parenting!

Image by David Amsler via Flickr

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