There is so much pressure to create family traditions, especially this time of year. We want our kids to remember our efforts. So we create elaborate outings, plan perfect family evenings, and try to give our kids holidays they’ll remember. What will they remember about the Christmas season? What will they remember about Thanksgiving? We must do something extraordinary for New Years! We peruse the internet and plan, stressing ourselves out to find the most innovative “traditions” that our kids will fawn over for years to come. But you know what? While we’re doing all of this, we’re also doing these things:
You know the things I’m talking about…
- That extra story you almost always agree to, even though it’s always just a little too late for one more.
- The way you bake a cozy breakfast from scratch every Sunday morning, and everyone stays in pjs until almost noon.
- The Friday night pizza that somehow became a weekly event.
- That house that has the really cool Christmas lights display that you drive by almost daily, even though it’s about ten minutes out of the way.
- The way the kids snuggle in bed with you and almost always fall asleep- the way you co-sleep, even though you never purposefully tried.
- The special dessert they love that appears once in awhile, always as a surprise.
- The song you play whenever anyone needs a pick me up or, is in a great mood.
These things, the routines, the boxes we check as we go through our days, these are the moments our kids remember. These are the traditions that they grow up knowing. This is the childhood they’ll remember. While we plan the big stuff, the little stuff creates the cornerstones of our kids childhoods.
So the next time you’re feeling stressed out trying to get tickets to that perfect show, or making sure your centerpiece is Pinterest perfect for your child’s birthday party, remember that what you’re trying to create as tradition may not at all be what your kids perceive as important.
What children remember is probably going to be much simpler. Traditions are things we do all the time; they’re things our littles remember when they need to feel cozy, loved, and warm. They’ll remember the special show you took them to, but what will probably take hold more is how you shared that mug of hot chocolate and plate of cookies afterward; the same snack you always share after a family event. It truly is the little things.
So don’t worry so much about creating complicated and elaborate “memories.” The things you’re doing are already happily etched in your child’s mind.