In the hubbub of life with kids, it's amazing how fragile happiness may seem. One minute everyone is enjoying breakfast together, and the next the orange juice is toppled and the drawing is ruined and nobody wants the waffles anymore. Blown out of proportion by a cranky preschooler, sulking tween or grudge-holding parent, a single mishap can develop into a gloom that lasts for hours.
Tolstoy once said, happy families in fact are all alike—at least in that they practice common habits that help inoculate them against setbacks large and small. The good news for the us? Copying those might make us happier, too.
Ideas for daily habits:
1- Secret Handshake. It can be elaborate and complicated or simple but meaningful.
2- Family Meal. Assemble dinner together. No TV, no cellphones, and no tablets. Everyone can take turns sharing something positive and negative that has happened to them during the day.
Ideas for weekly habits:
1- Weekly Family Meeting. Family is like any successful organization, you need to plan, discuss topics, and synchronize schedules. Every family meeting should end with something fun. Play video or board games together. Make pizzas... etc.
2- Dinner & Grocery Shopping. You can choose a day of the week when you can go as family to a grocery store that also has its own restaurant. You eat dinner there first and then do your shopping.
Ideas for monthly habits:
1- Full Moon Walks. A full moon occurs roughly every 29 days. While you may have become used to seeing them, they really are a charming sight – especially for kids who haven’t lost their sense of wonder.
2- Box of Goals. An essential life skill for your children to develop is how to set and work towards a goal. What better means to teach this than with a family habit? Get a wooden box and on the first day of each month, let your family members write down one goal they want to achieve that month on a piece of paper and they can even dray it and decorate it with stickers, place it in the box. When next month rolls around, take out the pieces of paper and evaluate the goals to realize how everyone did. Then write new goals for the next month. Rinse and repeat.
Despite the size of this list, there are tons of other great habits out there – we didn’t even mention all the specific religious/ethnic/cultural habits that exist! Habit ideas are limited only by your creativity.
Please share your family’s habits in the comments!