Remember those movies your children wanted to watch over and over again? They watched them so many times that they quoted the lines as they watched the show…and kept quoting them after the show ended…and when asking to watch the show again. If you were like me, the movie became boring. But our children never seem to tire of watching the same thing over again. They watched it each time with the same zeal as the last time.
In fact, children love repetition. It provides them with a sense of predictability that anchors them in the safety of something they know in the midst of a complex world they are navigating for the first time. When parents establish rituals that assure predictability in a child’s world, their children flourish. Children experience an increased sense of security within the repetitive pattern of a ritual. They grow more confident within the safety of daily (AKA: repetitive) rituals. They also gain mastery over their environment and develop a greater sense of agency as a result. Even better, rituals are simple, everyday practices you can establish. (Read Add Meaning to Life by Building Routines for more.) For instance, here are a few rituals you can easily establish with your children.
- Give your children a hug every night at bedtime.
- Read to your child at bedtime.
- Eat breakfast at the same every Saturday morning with your child.
- Send your child a text every morning.
- Schedule a regular outing with your child every week. (This is the best advice for dads…ever!)
These simple habits become repetitive rituals that reap huge dividends, like a stronger relationship with your child, a growing sense of agency and confidence in your child, and a greater tendency for your child to listen to you.
You can also establish rituals that build their sense of ability and family involvement. For instance, children love to work with their parent. Let them do so.
- When you “work” to get dinner on the table, let them be involved. They can put the silverware on the table, cut the vegetables, or put ice in the glasses.
- When you “work” to do the laundry, let them help throw clothes into the washer or dryer. Let them fold the socks.
- As you clean the house, let them dust the end table or empty the dustpan into the
- See What is Scaffolding in Montessori and How We Can Apply It At Home for more ideas.
As your child matures, their tasks may become more complex. Still, they will be “working” with you. That’s the ritual: working side by side with mom and dad to complete meaningful tasks around our home.
The repetition of ritual is a beautiful thing for you and your child. They will help your family “run smoothly.” They will allow you to know one another better. They will build a stronger, more loving family. Get started today.