The warmth of summer brings back memories from some of the best times spent with my family as a child. The smell of cut grass or a barbecue can conjure vivid images of playing softball, catching fireflies, and making chalk murals on the driveway with my sister. With these memories comes a sense of longing for times that you can’t help but miss.
But growing up doesn’t mean we should abandon traditions or favorite childhood pastimes – even if they might seem childish. It’s important for families to keep doing the things they’ve always enjoyed together, or to find a way to pass down these activities to the next generation.
Traditions are important for bringing stability to a family, and for giving family members a sense of belonging and fulfillment. These benefits are not only for kids, but adults alike.
You probably won’t find us making a chalk mural this summer, but my sister and I will enjoy seeing her young daughter create one. And I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to make my mark on it!
When trying to understand what makes a strong and successful family, we can turn to research on family strengths. The research suggests that there are several common strengths found among families, one of which is sharing enjoyable time together. Making and keeping a tradition that the whole family can enjoy together is a wonderful way to exercise this strength.
Here are ideas – big and small – that you can start as a summertime tradition with your family.
- Plan a vacation, or staycation
- Have an annual family kickball game
- Take a picnic to a nearby lake or park
- Spend a weekend camping
- Host a family summer recipe exchange (share recipes that use summer’s bounty of fruits and veggies)
You can do any of these things once, but the continuity of a tradition will benefit the family in a bigger way.
What are your Summer Time family traditions?