Parenting: Making holiday traditions

November 21, 2011

Every year, on Thanksgiving morning, my children visit me in the broadcast booth. They watch countless floats, balloons, marching bands and make a few new friends along the way.

Afterwards, we have a big turkey dinner at home with our extended family.

Like many families, we pretty much do the same thing, year after year and repeated rituals experts say can help strengthen our family bonds.

"The consistency of it is what gives them a sense of 'I belong and there is something that is consistent in my life that is very important.' For children it makes them feel like they're a part of something. If they have a tradition that goes on year to year, they start to form their year around it. They look forward to it and it has a lot to do with feeling loved and cared for," says Dr. Stephen Treat.

Dr. Treat works with the Council for Relationships and says holiday traditions can help foster a sense of security in children.

He advises parents to keep their traditions simple and focus on quality together time like having kids join in on cooking part of the holiday feast.

"If you can make three pies, then make three pies and spend the time with each other," says Dr. Treat.

He also suggests that you try your best to avoid negativity on the holidays like arguments that could make the season stressful on all family members.

"If you ask person 20 or 21-years-old what they remember about their history they'll forget all sorts of facts but they will remember their traditions. They'll remember the things their family did over and over again in a loving and caring way," says Dr. Treat.

Making your holiday traditions consistent, positive and personal to your family can bless your children with memories they will treasure for years to come.

Happy Parenting and Happy Thanksgiving!

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