7 Family Traditions That Help Kids Thrive

7 Family Traditions That Help Kids Thrive

When studying the Bible, we see that family is brought into the scene immediately. From the moment the Lord brought Eve to Adam (Genesis 2) and when she gave birth to children, we see that family matters to the Lord. So much so, that we see over 50 verses about parenting, children, and the responsibilities of families. God doesn’t take the concept of family lightly, even calling those who accept him His own children!

Yet, we find little insight on what daily life looked like for families in biblical times. One thing is for sure, without the modern technology or luxuries many of us enjoy such as television, movie theaters, or shopping centers, it’s clear that many biblical families had the privilege of spending vast amounts of time with their families.

Sadly, as we gain more access to the world around us, family time and traditions, in some homes, have become a fading memory. Yet, in a world where children have access to many negative influences via media, it has never been more important to institute strategies to see them thrive spiritually and emotionally. As parents, we have the privilege of helping them create memories that can last a lifetime and set a firm foundation for them to fully accept Christ.

With this in mind, here are seven family traditions that help kids thrive:

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  • prayer before meal, family dinner

    1. Family Dinner


    One tradition that never gets old are planned family meals. At the dinner table, children can have their voices heard, share about their day, and hear their parents’ hearts. When these times are purposeful and technology-free, family meals can be a time that children look forward to. In my home, we have used this time for games of trivia, hard conversations, and Bible study. Asking open-ended questions and choosing to be vulnerable can help facilitate this.

    Family dinners are also an opportunity to invite more people into your family circle. Having the neighbors join, a family from church, or a person who is having a hard time in life can remind your children of the importance of community and togetherness. According to Stanford Children’s Health, dinner time may be the only time families can come together and listen to one another. In their article, “Why the Family Meal Is Important,” they write, “By listening to what children have to say, you are saying, "I value what you do; I respect who you are and what you're doing; what you do is important to me."

    2. Getting Away

    Whether it’s a full-on vacation, or just some time away from the normal day-to-day, family time spent together outside of the normal routine and setting is a great way to give your children some extra attention. You might head to Disney World, or spend a night in a hotel with a pool. A day trip to the beach can even suffice. The purposeful creating of space to devote to just your family is what matters. Vacations should also be a time of respite for parents to unplug and enjoy relaxation. This gives parents the ability to refresh and be rejuvenated. If you tend to be a “work-a-holic” planned vacations force you to pause and enjoy the benefits of your work. Ideally, intentional vacations can provide fun for children and pockets of rest for the parents. This is a win for everyone involved! Certainly, it is a gift from God to take a break from the daily grind of work and enjoy a time of togetherness.

    Also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God's gift to man.” (Ecclesiastes 3:13)

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  • 3. Celebrations

    3. Celebrations


    Celebrate your children and celebrate with your children! It is important that, as parents, we value our children and let them know that they are loved. From giving them a special gift or outing on their birthday, to yearly religious celebrations, these moments help children have something to look forward to. Additionally, children tend to gravitate to where they are celebrated and enjoyed. If we fail to appreciate them, we run the risk of them falling prey to the first person who does give them attention. According to the Mayo Clinic, we have to be intentional about creating an atmosphere of love and care. In their words, “Don't assume that your teen knows how much you love him or her.” With this said, birthdays and special occasions such as graduations or holidays, are the perfect opportunities to remind children they are a gift from the Lord.

    Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him.” (Psalm 127:3)

    4. Devotional Time

    One tradition that can help create a firm foundation in the Lord, is family devotional time. This can be done at dinner, a certain time of day, or specific days of the week. The key is to find times that work for your family. Reading the Bible and allowing children to ask questions creates a place of safety for them to ask questions and seek deeper understanding. Parents can be creative with this time by buying family devotionals, playing Bible trivia games, and purchasing Bibles that are easy to understand for their children. Bible time doesn’t have to be a dread for children, but can be a time of fun and togetherness. Teaching children the Word of God is not just a good idea, but a command from the Lord. We can expect that if we don’t teach them truth, the enemy will find ways to deceive them with any chance that he can.

    Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.” (Deuteronomy 11:19-21)

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  • A mother and daughter watching TV, family-friendly movies on Disney Plus

    5. Parent-Child Dates


    Spending one-on-one time is important for children to thrive. For families with multiple children, kids can easily feel lost in the crowd. Purposefully choosing to hang out with individual children gives them the opportunity to be heard and valued. These moments can be chosen based on the child’s likes. For instance, a trip to the art store for a child who loves to paint, or an outing to a sporting game for the athletic child. Similarly, these outings don’t have to be expensive. The quality time we have with our family is more important than the quantity spent to do so.

    6. Parent Date Nights

    It may seem that for children to thrive, parents must primarily focus on their little ones. However, parents should also seek to take care of their own mental health as well. Married couples with children should create a routine of dating. This sets a great example for children to see the value of marriage. Studies have found that parents who spend regular quality time without their children report higher levels of happiness. This is not to say that parents are happier without their children but more a reflection that parents need time together to work on their personal relationship.

    According to Psychology Today, “For those parents who take on the primary responsibility for children and home, spending time away from home and children is like getting a break from work, so it stands to reason that date nights would be important.”

    Whenever parents can create an environment that reminds children of the love they have for one another, this is a win! One of the best gifts parents can give to children is an atmosphere where love and intentional moments are seen from the top-down.

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  • 7. Prayer

    7. Prayer


    A family tradition of prayer is one way to see children thrive. From praying at dinner to praying before bed, parents have an opportunity to draw their children back to the Lord daily. These times of prayer should be more than reciting the same few phrases, but an opportunity to teach children how to pray. For example, in our home, we may encourage our children to pray for one person in their lives or to pray for a specific thing that may be bothering them. In the same way, when someone isn’t feeling well, we stop and pray for them as a family. According to Ministry Spark, prayer shouldn’t be intimidating or uncomfortable but a way for them to know that God hears them. They suggest five things to avoid teaching when guiding children to pray.

    – The idea that prayer is just for adults.

    – There’s a right way to sit when praying.

    – There are only certain times to pray.

    – We should only use certain words to pray.

    – Prayer is how we get what we want.

    When prayer becomes the heartbeat of the home, children can learn to run to God for their needs. Prayer in the home takes the gospel from being a “feel-good story” told at churches to a living truth that they can believe for themselves.

    Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’” (Matthew 9:14)

    References:

    Why the Family Meal Is Important

    Get to Know Your Kids: How we make parent-child dates actually happen (Plus 260 kid-date Ideas)

    The Secret to Better Date Nights

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    Victoria Riollano is an author, blogger, and speaker. As a mother of six, military spouse, Psychology professor and minister’s wife, Victoria has learned the art of balancing family and accomplishing God’s ultimate purpose for her life. Recently, Victoria released her book, The Victory Walk: A 21 Day Devotional on Living A Victorious Life.  Her ultimate desire is to empower women to live a life of victory, hope, and love. She believes that with Christ we can live a life that is ALWAYS winning. You can learn more about her ministry at victoryspeaks.org.