Five Daily Rituals to Start with Your Child Today
I have put together a list of rituals that you can start with your child today. Whether he or she is a newborn or 5 years old, these practices will completely change the tone and rhythm of your days together with your kids.
Mamas, I know it is so hard to keep up sometimes.
Between never-ending laundry, feeling like a chauffeur as we shuttle kids off from activity to activity in rush hour traffic, and attempting to feed the family a nutritious dinner that won’t be flung across the room with a spoon by a picky toddler, it never seems to end. Life throws curveballs (and spoonfuls of broccoli) our way on the daily and we’re all just doing our best to keep our heads above water.
I know as well as anyone else that there are days when we have to say, “that’s good enough” and try again tomorrow. Days when your sauce-covered kid gets hosed down in the kitchen sink and sent straight off to bed because they need to sleep more than they need a proper bath. Days when I actually CAN tell you how to get to Sesame Street because we’re on our third episode of the day and it’s only 2pm. But let me make the case for letting those days be the exceptions and not the norm.
Why? Because amidst all uncertainty and chaos of life, our kids need consistency and stability in order to learn and process the world around them. By establishing rituals into our children’s lives, we are prioritizing for them the things that we value the most for them, which will show them that these are important things for them to know and learn.
I believe we can help our kids to gain a sense of stability by implementing this one thing:
A set of simple and predictable daily rituals.
We’ve all heard that we should establish rituals with our baby, but what about when they’re toddlers and beyond? I truly feel that the more consistent we are, the more we are setting our kids and ourselves up for more peaceful, fun, and happy days. For me and my daughter, these are non-negotiable.
No matter how well or badly our day is gone, I practice these rituals with my daughter every day. I started these when she was a tiny baby and now these rituals play a big part in her everyday routine and learning. It’s amazing to think that by starting these rituals with her at an early age, I have helped her to form so many connections in her brain. I truly believe that these simple practices have made a huge positive impact on my daughter.
Here are some rituals that you can start with practicing with your child today:
1. Count the Lights On and Off
This is a strategy that I learned while teaching music classes. We would count up to 10 and blow the lights out (with an audible “HOO” before lullaby time) and count down from 10 in time to “SNAP” the lights back on with a snap of our fingers. We do the opposite and count the lights down from 10 before turning the lights back on after her sleep. I have used this with my little one since she started sleeping in her crib and it now gives her a sense of excitement for multiple things- turning the lights out, counting, and ultimately- BEDTIME! I truly think this ritual is the reason why my daughter could count to 10 on her own at 17 months.
2. Read a Designated Book During Diaper Changes
The best gift that I received from my baby shower was an idea that my sister had for a handmade ABC Book by my family and friends and I prop this book up next to my daughter’s changing table for every single diaper change. If I forget to do so, she asks me to look at the book! It has become an awesome ritual for keeping family members close to us even when we live so far away from them. Not only is my daughter familiarizing herself with the letters of the alphabet several times throughout the day, but she is getting to see the sweet work of and from the people who love her most!
The diaper changing time is such an ideal time to have a set ritual in place because as parents, we’re ALWAYS doing it, several times a day! Why not distract yourselves from the not-so-fun task by reading a book at the same time?
3. Shake it Off
I make sure that my daughter and I get in some dance time every day, especially if we’re just having one of THOSE days when nothing seems to be going right. For us, dance time falls after dinner and before bedtime, but you can adjust this to any time that fits in your schedule. To take out the guesswork of what to play, I have made a child-friendly playlist just for you to use whenever you and your family need a mood boost!
4. Wind down the day with gratitude
We’ve all heard that gratitude is one of the key players in overall happiness. Why not use dinnertime, bathtime, or another time towards the end of the day as a time to reflect on the good things that happened? During this designated time, name three things that you were grateful for from the day’s events and your child will catch on, even as a baby. Your child will love hearing a story about their day with you and will probably notice that you start to feel happier too! Even better yet, try starting a gratitude journal! All you need is a pad of paper and a pen and you can have something tangible to look back on for years to come. We talk about our day and name three great things about our day at dinnertime.
5. Sing Lullabies Before Naps and Bedtime
Lullabies have been sung for thousands of years all over the world because they do exactly what they were intended to do! They soothe, calm, and relax your little one and help you to bond with them through the power of music. If you were sung to as a child, I’m sure that you have very powerful memories lullaby time. My mom didn’t sing to me often, but I vividly remember the times that she did. If you are new to lullabies, try choosing just one song that you love to sing and your child will be able to feel that love from you. Remember, what is most important is the feeling that you put into it! Even if you feel like you can’t sing well, do it anyway, because I promise that your child loves your voice and will benefit from being sung to.
While these rituals are simple to implement, the hardest part is consistency! Luckily, I have made a free printable cheat sheet to help remind you of the rituals. You can get access to the cheat sheet by clicking on the button below!
Try posting it on your fridge or somewhere where you’ll see if every day. My suggestion to you? Start with just one until it sticks, then add one more! Give it some time and watch the magic happen. I guarantee that you will see a difference in your child and you may even see a difference in yourself too!
What are your favorite rituals that you practice with your children? I’d love to know in the comments below!
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