These fun family tradition ideas are all about adding simple rituals that will help you form strong family bonds and create memories to last for years.
Our list is growing as parents share the family traditions that they enjoy with their kids year after year. From simple daily routines to fun family theme nights, you'll find plenty of inspiration to start some new traditions with your own family.
Do you have a favorite family tradition that you think fellow parents might want to try? Tell us about it below!
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Personalized Birthday Dinners
Kristy Pepping: My mom used to make our favorite meal on our birthdays growing up so I kept this family tradition for my own family. I simply ask what they want me to make for their birthday dinner and that's what everyone eats. It's actually pretty funny sometimes to hear the entire menu since some of the sides you wouldn't necessarily pair with the main course!
Mother/Daughter Holiday Tea
Sarah Calamita: We have a Mother/Daughter Tea during the Christmas holidays. We get dressed up all fancy and enjoy listening to the music and drinking our tea/water. My daughter feels so special when we do this! There are so many places that do this, but you could also recreate at home (as we have during COVID!)
Homemade Birthday Cake
Shila: Homemade cake is a fun way to make the birthday kid (or adult!) feel special, and there are so many fun birthday cake recipes to try. This is especially true for my husband, whose birthday falls on one of the biggest "holidays" for kids - Halloween! To show dad we care, we carve out a couple hours before trick-or-treating to bake him a personalized cake. We decorate using spooky themes like gummy worms in dirt (from Oreo crumbs).
Breakfast in Bed
Alexandra F.: This is a tradition from my own childhood that I have loved carrying over to our family. Every birthday, the birthday kid/teen/mom/dad gets woken up by the whole family singing "Happy Birthday” and bringing in a tray of their favorite breakfast, along with their birthday gifts. Then we all crowd onto the bed to eat and open gifts. It is the best way to start a special day!
Birthday Balloons on Doorway
Karen Wilson Bellomy: We always put balloons all over the bedroom door on our children's birthdays so when they wake up and try to get through they have to pop the balloons to get out. It is so much fun and looks great, too.
Kelly R.: We display an awesome engraved wooden ruler growth chart on one of the walls in our home. We measure and mark our kids' heights each year on their birthday. It's the first thing they ask to do when they wake up in the morning on their special day! I love this family tradition because we are able to bring the ruler with us when we move, which we wouldn't be able to do if we were marking heights on a doorframe or wall.
Kelly R.: Reading bedtime stories to my kids has been part of our routine from the very beginning. Even now that my kids are old enough to read to themselves, they still love this calm listening time at the end of the day. For my middle schooler, we have continued this tradition by listening to audiobooks together every night!
Special Plate for Special Days
Sarah Calamita: We use a "Special Plate" for all birthdays and special days (last day of school, Mother's Day, etc.) The kids get to eat their meal on it or put their birthday cake on it. Just one more thing to make their day feel extra special!
Marcia Alvarez Delgado: To keep the family together when things get too busy we have the kids choose a game once a month and play together for a game night with pizza and popcorn. It can be a board game or Mario Kart. We let the kids choose.
Special Sunday Breakfast
Shila: One of our favorite family traditions involves preparing quiche every Sunday for a sit-down morning meal. It's one of the easiest recipes for kids to make when you use a store-bought crust. Trust me, we couldn't keep up with this weekly routine if it wasn't so simple and yummy! The more important win, though, is willingly gathering together. Family tradition examples like these around the dining table make for great conversation, too!
Family Movie Night
Kelly R.: We started doing a weekly family movie night a few years ago, and it is something that we still look forward to every single week! Friday nights are pizza and movie nights, and we all take turns being the one who gets to choose a family friendly movie. This eliminates any arguments about what we are watching. It's the perfect way to wind down the week!
Eating Dinner Together
Kelly R.: Eating dinner together isn't the most glamorous of family traditions, but we prioritize doing it as much as we possibly can! How often do you eat together? It's a built-in way to hear about everyone's day and connect as a family, even when we are all busy.
Happy Birthday Cake Hat
Kelly R.: We upgraded to reusable party decorations when we started celebrating a lot of family birthdays over Zoom, and now our birthday celebrations are one of our favorite family traditions! Everyone loves this ridiculous happy birthday hat, which is worn by the birthday boy or girl (or mom or dad!) on their special day.
Holiday Ornament Souvenirs
Kristy Pepping: We started a souvenir tradition when our oldest went on her first vacation. We bring back a holiday ornament to hang on our tree each time. One of our favorite family Christmas traditions is when we pull them out of the box each year to decorate, and talk about our past vacations. It keeps the fun memories going.
Daily Family Walk
Kelly R.: We go on a family walk around the neighborhood every day after dinner. It's a low-key and totally free family tradition, and it's nice to wind down the day with a little exercise and fresh air. We've come up with fun things to do on walks to help motivate the kids to want to do it day after day!
Volunteering as a Family
Alexandra F.: Volunteering in our community was something that was important to my husband and me before we had kids, and so we wanted to incorporate into our family life as much as possible once the little ones came along. It took a while for us to find local places to volunteer with kids, but once we did, it became an especially meaningful family tradition - especially during the holidays. Even during the pandemic, we were able to find ways to volunteer from home, which helped us feel connected to our larger community during an otherwise isolating time.
Rainy Day Party
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: When my kids were toddlers, I would plan at-home parties on rainy days. We'd do obstacle courses, set up a picnic lunch on a blanket, play games, bake and read books. If it was stormy or cloudy/dark outside, we'd have glow stick/light shows where we'd wave around colorful glow sticks and the kids loved to see what they could create in the air!
Family Bike Ride
Ana Reyes: I recommend a bike ride once a week or once a month. Kids love it and it is a good way to stay active.
Parent & Child Dates
Kelly R.: We have really enjoyed prioritizing one-on-one time with our kids in the form of parent/child "dates." My husband and I each take one of our kids and plan some special time together. It doesn't have to be complicated...a trip to Starbucks or a simple spa night at home have been big hits!
You Are Special Today Plate
Kelly R.: We bring out The Red Plate whenever we have something to celebrate, and the special person gets to use it. I love using it not only for birthdays, but also to recognize smaller celebrations: moving up a level on the swim team, getting a part in the school play, losing a tooth, etc.
First Day of School Scavenger Hunt
NoName: You can compile a list of the things kids need for their fist day of school and then let them search around the house for the items. It's a fun way to help them get ready and excited for starting school, especially if it's their first time. The scavenger hunt could be used for any occasion or holiday.
Special Treat on the First Day of Spring
Sue Krawitz Tandoc: My kids and I celebrate the first day of spring each year with free water ice at Rita's. We go no matter the weather (one year it was snowing!) and the kids and I always have a blast ushering in spring with a special treat!
Family Halloween Costume
Alexandra F.: Halloween is such a kid-favorite holiday that it's fun to create special family traditions around it, and one of our all-time favorites is the family Halloween costume! Though we don't do it every year, if the kids' costume preferences any given year allow for it, we look for opportunities to all get involved in the fun. Some years we've planned our family costumes well in advance and others we've DIYed it at last minute, but they always end up being some of our favorite memories (and pictures!) from the year.
Agreatmom2!: Whomever birthday it is, we either make their favorite dessert or buy it to celebrate their special day. We truly enjoy this every year. (I.e. Banana pudding cheesecake, lava cake, ice cream cake, etc.)
Primary photo: Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels
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