Family sciences experts say that there are different types of traditions. Some are centered around celebrations (such as holidays and birthdays) or special events created within a family (like vacations or game nights). Others, however, hinge on everyday activities [source: Hill]. Family dinner falls into the latter category.
Dinnertime may not have been considered a special event 50 years ago when it was a common part of a family's daily routine; but these days when even 5-year-olds have busy calendars, the evening meal can be a rare occasion. Yet, this simple event can give the entire household a chance to shake off the stresses of the day and bond. Plus, family dinners are more likely to be nutritious than eat-and-go evenings. This is important for many reasons, but one you might not consider is that the right nutrition can be a component of stress management [source: WebMD].
Just don't let this make you think you have to prepare a large meal every night. Putting such pressure on yourself may lead to abandoning this family tradition. So instead, shake things up. Make hardy, home-cooked meals once or twice a week and enjoy leftovers on other evenings. You can even allow a pizza or take-out night once week -- which on its own can become yet another fun family tradition.
We have lots more information below, so keep reading.
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- Are family traditions important?
- When does a habit become a tradition?
- Do kids get the importance of family traditions?
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- Cort, Sean. "Helpful Advice for Blended Families." Psychology Today. Jan. 6, 2010. (Aug. 6, 2011) http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-power-perspective/201001/helpful-advice-blended-families
- Dowshen, Steven. "Community Service: A Family's Guide to Getting Involved." KidsHealth. October 2010 (Aug. 6, 2011) http://kidshealth.org/parent/positive/family/volunteer.html#
- Hill, Melinda. "Family Traditions." Ohio State University. 2000. (Aug. 6, 2011) http://ohioline.osu.edu/flm00/fs12.html
- Reznick, Charlotte. "The Healing Power of Family Play." Psychology Today. Aug. 19, 2010 (Aug. 6, 2011) http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-power-imagination/201008/the-healing-power-family-play
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- Rubin, Gretchen. "Find Ways to Make Holiday Traditions More Fun. (At the Very Least, Have Some Holiday Traditions.)" Psychology Today. July 2, 2010 (Aug. 6, 2011) http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-happiness-project/201007/find-ways-make-holiday-traditions-more-fun-the-very-least-have-som
- Rubin, Gretchen. "This Wednesday: Tips for Starting a Family Holiday Tradition." The Happiness Project. Oct. 25, 2006 (Aug. 6, 2011) http://www.happiness-project.com/happiness_project/2006/10/this_wednesday__2.html
- Schwartz, C; Meisenhelder, JB; Ma, Y; and Reed, G. "Altruistic Social Interest Behaviors Are Associated with Better Mental Health." Psychosomatic Medicine. September - October 2003 (Aug. 6, 2011) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14508020
- Stern, Joanne. "Creating Everyday Rituals That Are Meaningful for Your Family." Psychology Today." Nov. 29, 2010 (Aug. 6, 2011) http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/parenting-is-contact-sport/201011/creating-everyday-rituals-are-meanigful-your-family
- WebMD. "Diet for Stress Management Slideshow: Carbs, Nuts and Other Stress-Relief Foods." June 27, 2011 (Aug. 6, 2011) http://www.webmd.com/diet/slideshow-diet-for-stress-management
- Whitbourne, Susan Krauss. "The Importance of Vacations to our Physical and Mental Health." Psychology Today. June 22, 2010 (Aug. 6, 2011) http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201006/the-importance-vacations-our-physical-and-mental-health
What are good traditions for families during the summer? Read about 5 summertime family traditions at HowStuffWorks.