Habitot Children's Museum

FALL-WINTER HOURS
October 1- March 31
Mon
Tue
Wed
Thu
Fri
Sat
Sun
9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 4:30
9:30 - 4:30
9:30 - 4:30

SPRING-SUMMER HOURS
April 1 - September 30
Mon
Tue
Wed
Thu
Fri
Sat
Sun

9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 4:30
9:30 - 4:30
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THIS MONTH'S SPONSOR
State Farm Insurance
Berkeley Agent, Gary Eason
http://garyeason.net/



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Habitot Children's Museum
2065 Kittredge Street
Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 647-1111
www.habitot.org


Create Meaningful Family Traditions

Q. What are some good ways to create meaningful family traditions during the holiday season?

 

A. Children desire order and predictability and daily activities give children a sense of how the world around them works. They look to rituals to anchor their lives. The repetition of traditions and rituals year after year can support a child’s sense of identity and connection to others from the earliest ages. Family traditions do so much more than provide excitement and enjoyment; they give the whole family great stability and a sense of belonging.

With major holidays upon us, ritual and tradition take on larger-than-family significance. There are activities we share with our religious groups and in the community as well as within the family. Choosing what to include and what to emphasize helps define you as a family, clarify what you value, and focus family memories – and some traditions may be passed down through generations. Family photos taken during holidays can be great ways to document family history.

Perhaps best of all, traditions and rituals can help us “pause” amid the busy, often hectic, holidays and focus on the thing we value most: our families.

Here are some tips on creating meaningful family traditions:

  • Realize that some traditions just happen. Whether it’s building an decorating a graham cracker cookie or gingerbread house or creating a hand-made menorah that everyone just loves doing — sometimes the best traditions just magically start one year and you keep doing them because they were “hits.”

  • Pay attention to all of the senses. Great memories involve the senses – the colors, the smells, the touch of fabrics, the music, the taste of certain foods. Especially for young children, pay attention to what they might be experiencing through their senses, and emphasize those.

  • Choose activities that help others. Most of us are hard-wired for altruism and nothing makes us feel better than giving to others in need. The winter holidays celebrate generosity so having traditions and rituals that allow children to practice generosity, sharing and doing for others can be especially meaningful for them. Help your child choose age-appropriate acts of generosity. Planting evergreen trees, donating pumpkins to elephants at the zoo, bundling socks for the homeless help children understand the needs of the community. When children are older, donating toys, clothing or canned goods are meaningful and teenagers can serve meals at shelters. Toys for Tots, Angel Tree, and Coat Collection Drives are good ones to look for.

  • Pick the best of both worlds, but don’t forget your own. At first, many young families try to include all or most of the traditions and rituals from both sides of the family, but trying to do everything can be exhausting – too much traveling, too many meals, too little ‘down-time’ for kids and parents alike. Every family will have to work out a happy medium, and create some of their own traditions in the process. Try not to feel guilty about letting some things go. Alternating years between families, or splitting up the holiday activities or sharing some but not all rituals together can help. Try to integrate the best of both families’ traditions to make a season that is as meaningful and unique as the family you’ve created together.

  • Be flexible and evolve over time. Some holiday traditions remain static from year to year. Nevertheless, it's human nature for change to come to even the most entrenched traditions, especially as the children in your family get older. Being able to change with the times indicates a strong, centered, and involved family. A smaller tree, fewer folks around the holiday table, or maybe more friends join you. The holiday season celebrated in a different climate or location can retain some of the rituals, but doesn’t take anything away from the sense of family togetherness that is the purpose of rituals.

Resources:

Creating family traditions. Maudie Kelly, MS. University of Missouri Extension: Life Times. 2005. Web Article:
http://extension.missouri.edu/ecregion/lifetimes/CreatingTraditions.html

5 Meaningful Holiday Traditions for Kids. Bethany Hardy. 2011. Web Article: http://www.pbs.org/parents/special/article-5-meaningful-holiday-traditions-for-kids.html

Creating Holiday Traditions. Family Time. 2012. Web Article: http://www.familytime.com/Showarticle.aspx?ArticleId=405&CI=3

 
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