4 ideas to help you kick start the culture of positive family traditions

I have the best memories as a kid eating ice cream. It was a family tradition that I had with my father. It was nice.

Michael Strahan

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I remember as a child how I used to watch family movies and see how on TV they enjoyed breakfast and dinner together as a family. They had family reunions and despite their differences they made the effort to show up for any family meetups. I was young then and did not understand these were picture perfect movies and as a child I didn’t seem to question why I didn’t see same or similar practice with my family. All I knew was, I loved what I saw and possibly wished (hope this is not a figment of my memory).This is another motivation for teaching my kids to express themselves and ask questions although sometimes their line of questions “overs” me and I feel like giving up…lol

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Recently I engaged a few mothers and the theme running through was “mommy guilt” and although the dads won’t talk, “daddy guilt” too. The fast paced environment we find ourselves in plus the insufficiency of a single source of income makes most parents extremely busy. This could mean less and lesser time spent with the kids than we would have ordinarily wished for.

I was inspired to put this together after I posted our Friday evening routine of “Family movie nights” and the feedback made me realise it would be quite useful to explore this further and help manage the guilt of not being there for the kids by creating routines and expectations.

My Instagram post that inspired this post…….

  1. FRIDAY MOVIE NIGHTS

I started this, not with the intention to create a routine out of it but I guess one time was fun for them and with time it has steadily become one of our most looked forward to family tradition which we know for sure that our kids will pass on to theirs or on to others.

An adorable African American family are having a movie night at home. They are sharing a bowl of popcorn. Image credit: Istockphoto

We basically camp out in the hall, so on Fridays no one sleeps in their room. We carry the blankets and pillows just to feel cozy for the night. And it’s not complete without our microwaveable popcorn, ice cream and some drinks. We simply just spoil ourselves. We deserve it!

The kids are happy on Thursday evenings and Friday mornings just because they are looking forward to the evening hangout! Oh we added something simple but fun, we created a profile for each member of the family on Netflix and my 6 year old keeps track of whose turn it is to select a movie. She is the Headmistress of the house. Under her watch you dare not cancel this event! And on a positive note, it makes me ensure that I clear as much work on Fridays to be fully present for our family hangouts.

Off course there are days when mom and dad sleep through the movie on stressful Fridays and there are days when they sleep through the movie but the whole idea of us being bundled and cuddled up in one space is what Family is about!

2. WEEKDAY FAMILY WALKS AND EXERCISE ROUTINES

Inasmuch as the kids see this as fun, for my husband and I it helps to destress us after a stressful day at work.. On evening walks we get to talk about their day at school and sometimes how our day at work went.

Family exercising together outside. Image credit: Istockphoto

As for the evening jogs, my two handbags are very competitive and always want to outrun each other. We always find ourselves screaming at them to slow down! I promised tips to start a family tradition not tips to have the perfect family tradition…lol…Once there are kids, there will be screams and a whole of lot of “be carefuls”.

On days Mr. Lazy wins I get a family exercise video on YouTube and we imitate their exercise routines. Its fun actually! For now we haven’t established a strict routine like we do with movie nights. We aim to have a minimum of 2 exercise routines out of 5 weekdays.

3. SUNDAYS ARE FOR GOD AND FAMILY ONLY!

It might sound easier said than done but when I started my digital wellness journey (disciplining myself to ensure that I control social media and not the other way around) I realised I had so much time on Sundays for myself too.

Kids tasting their cupcake mix. Image credit: OMT’s phone

You can explore these ideas on Sundays.

Bake or try new recipes: I am not a baker and I used to even burn cake mixes so you can imagine. On Sundays we experiment or bake cakes or cookies. Aside the fun side and oh the mess to be cleaned up, it is also a good way to teach them an extra skill and reduce your expenditure on cakes and cookies too! You teach them to try their hands at new things and most importantly explore!

Experiment with art projects: I am a creative at heart so this comes a bit easy with me. If you are not the type of parent you can get in touch with me (omtsdigest@gmail.com) for ideas or follow Getpaged for hands on fun and interactive ideas. The latest project we did was a sign post for their bedroom door which read, “J^^^^^^A, J^^^E AND JESUS live here.” It was fun, although my son has a mind of his own but this week hearing him spell JESUS was a BIG deal to me. This meant constantly seeing it on the door of their bedroom made him retain the spelling.

Engage them about God: As a Christian I grew up reciting prayers that didn’t have any meaning to me. I would say I grew up religious but I want my kids to develop their own personal relationship with God, not because mom or dad says I should do it this way. I use my little knowledge and a few videos to spike their interest and then ask their view of things. So they know Sundays is about God and crafts or baking.

4. FAMILY ROAD TRIPS

This one is championed by my “Papa No.” We take this very seriously, he finds locations and checks the budget then we start planning towards it. At least from every 2 months to each quarter we have to go on a road trip and the kids so love it! I know I promised a post on how to plan one on a budget. It’s in draft and would be launched soon but for now I have been posting reviews of places we visit.

Boat ride at Elmina with a view of the Elmina Castle behind us. Image credit: Our boat tour guide using hubby’s phone

From My visit to Fort Prinzenstein to A review of my visit to the Accra Zoo to the Palms to Elmina to Cape Coast and many others yet to be published on the blog, the aim is to bring us together as a family and also raise open-minded little humans.

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These are just 4 of my family’s tried and tested and kids approved family routines which has slowly turned into a family tradition in our household. Involving my son in baking and cooking, seeing his father cook and seeing us alternate with tasks at home is a good sign for them to replicate as they grow up as adults too!

There are a few other work-in-progress ideas I am working on like Family Charity support. Once I get it all figured out I will be sure to write about it. For now I tell the kids what I am doing and they help me with gathering the stuff to donate. The next step is to involve them in the donation and let them help out and experience the good energy with extending help to others.

What family traditions do you have? What did I miss? I would love to try them out and add to my growing list too! Don’t keep this nugget to yourself, share with other parents and let’s help create a new generation that respects and honours family values.

ginta-regular
meybi-regular

The OMT brand focuses on family life, inspiration, education, mental wellness, entrepreneurship, youth and women empowerment and changing the African narrative a blog post at a time. 

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