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The Power of Rituals and Traditions in Childhood

As a child, we moved twice, living in two different cities and three houses and now as an adult, I’ve lived with my family in four different states and we’ve moved five times. We have enjoyed the adventure and have resiliently integrated into each of our communities in unique ways. Relocating to a new house, new community, and even new states is always difficult, but our parents raised us with adventure and independence in mind, giving us strong wings and freedom to fly.

While it’s incredibly important to encourage and support independence in our children, it is just as essential to be mindful and intentional about helping them create deep and strong roots. Family traditions and rituals are a wonderful way to strengthen roots! Traditions are purposeful and repeated practices that involve the members of a family. They can include simple daily routines like a morning gratitude practice or Friday pizza and movie night and seasonal or holiday activities that are more symbolic or planned.

These repeated and shared experiences help us grow and create a foundation for us to turn to in times of great stress and can be quite healing. Psychologists have also found that naturally occurring family routines and meaningful rituals provide both a predictable structure that guides behavior and an emotional climate that supports early development.

Family traditions are any purposeful and repeated practice that two or more members of the family participate in. These practices provide a great structure for kids, who need structure and repetition to feel secure and to learn. Traditions also give us a sense of belonging which can be a powerful source of emotional well being. They connect us to our families as well as the greater community from which our rituals may have come or to others who share similar traditions. Celebrating and participating in various rituals and traditions also communicates to our children our family’s values and connects us to our past.

How do we integrate rituals and traditions at Magnolia Outdoor?

In Our Classes

Each of our Tinkergarten classes follows a rhythm of greeting, singing, moving, inviting play, exploring, reflecting and saying see you later. Kids are shown what to expect in our class flow and can find comfort in knowing what comes next. We use similar vocabulary each week and reminders of next steps to help families feel secure.

In Winter, we find coziness and magic in our weekly tea time! At the end of each class, we settle in for a cup of tea to warm us from the inside out before saying goodbye. Our teatime ritual only happens in winter classes, making the season feel extra special, building community and helping kids feel and understand that they can thrive outdoors in all four seasons.

In Our Community

For over a decade, Tinkergarten families and friends have gathered with homemade lanterns to welcome winter’s darkness, celebrate the changing seasons and connect as a community. In our own community, we are about to embark on our second annual Lantern Walk! Lantern Walks are beautiful events open to all where we sing traditional songs, light lanterns and set off on a cozy sunset walk together. Learning to embrace change is an important part of becoming resilient. Our Lantern Walk tradition celebrates and teaches kids to embrace the darkness of winter and cycles of nature. Everyone brings a homemade lantern because when kids make their own lanterns, they prepare and get invested in the tradition as well.

What about you?

What traditions does your family observe in different seasons?

Is there a daily or weekly ritual your children especially adore?

Are there any traditions you hope to begin this year?

Let me know by commenting or replying below or tag me in your play on Instagram @magnoliaoutoor.

Resources for more information on rituals and the research behind this post: Infants & Young Children.


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