As we approach the end of the year, new year’s resolutions are flying through the air. We hear things like, “I will lose weight,” “I will go to the gym every day,” or my favorite, “I won’t eat any sugar, carbs, sodas, or anything indulgent.” While these resolutions are great for personal growth and change, we sometimes miss out on including others in our resolutions. This year, my resolution is to build deeper connections with those I love.
This resolution can seem vague and overwhelming, but it can all start by building rituals. Rituals are very different from routines because there is a relationship component. Here’s how a simple routine can turn into a ritual: brushing teeth with your little one can turn into a song and dance that you both do. The act of doing something enjoyable together in a predictable way is a ritual. These rituals build connections between people that last a lifetime.
If you are having trouble creating a ritual, think back to your childhood. What was something that you did that was enjoyable, either with your family or friends? If your child is old enough, ask them what they would like to do that is enjoyable and do it together.
Remember that the simple things that we as adults do not necessarily think are important, are major moments for kids. When I was growing up, my dad was in the army and sometimes was deployed for months, especially during war times. When he was home, we had a simple ritual. Most nights he would bring home chem lights, also known as glow sticks. I could never crack it in the right spot to make it work, so my dad always did that for me after he let me try. Then we would play with the chem lights until it was time for dinner. My dad sharing something that he used at work with me was huge for me. That was a ritual that built our relationship. That is what rituals do.
Find something that brings both you and your child joy and just do it together. Have fun with the ritual and know that it will be a positive experience that can grow in ways you never realized. Have a happy and safe new year and new rituals.
Monet Somerville, MS
Monet received her Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology from North Carolina Wesleyan College. She then went on to receive her Master’s in Science in Psychology with a Concentration in Child and Adolescent Development from Capella University. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Developmental Psychology with a Concentration in Child and Adolescent Development. Monet is also a licensed Trust Based Relational Intervention Practitioner.
Prior to working to The Parenting Center, Monet worked as a Case Manager in a residential facility for adolescent girls who were in foster care but were unable to be placed in a foster home. She also taught foster parents about child development and the impacts that positive parenting can make on a child.