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Happy family habits #5: Make family traditions both big and small - part of a great series tackling ways to be a happier family 21 days at a time.

Happy Family Habit #5: Making Family Traditions

It’s been another 21 days guys – which means it’s time for “Happy Family Habit” #5.  So far we’ve tackled sharing you story, writing down your gratitude, unplugging, and finding your silly. How are you doing with the list?  Now’s a great time to jump in and get started!  I love the idea of making family traditions both big and small.

Camping is becoming a summer tradition that our kiddos love, but we do lots of little stuff too. For instance, every time we’re driving on an overpass, I yell, “tall bridge” and then the kids and I all stick are hands up in the air (one hand for me – safety first) and scream our heads off like we’re on a roller coaster.  It’s a small thing but I have a feeling they’ll remember it when they’re older and smile, just like I remember playing slug bug with my dad on the way to school every morning.


What are your family’s big and little traditions?

While you’re musing over that, here’s Kristin with more ideas…

Memories are made from traditions.  Those things that we do time and time again.  The things we look forward to are what ties us together as a family.  I started thinking about traditions (big and small).  What is it that makes them special and why are we doing them in the first place?

When I was a kid, we camped like no one’s business.  As soon as the snow melted, my parents loaded up the camping trailer and we hit the road.  That time together bonded us as a family and we still laugh about all those experiences out in the wilderness.  Something like camping or a yearly vacation takes some saving and planning.  It’s what we look forward to all year.

Our family has decided to invest in this tradition.  We will fly to Montana (where I grew up) or plan a local camping trip every summer.  I love the memories we are making and the way the kids are bonding over learning to fish and putting up a tent.


Big trips and yearly planned events aren’t the only way to make memories with your family.  I’m a big fan of small traditions too.  Our weeks tend to get jam-packed with all the things we have to do.  So, during the warmer months, we ditch the table full of dinner dishes and walk around the block.

Sometimes we all walk, sometimes the kids will ride bikes or scooters.  But it’s something we all do together.  We take time to breath and connect with each other in a way that’s easy to do.  Those dishes can wait 15 minutes!


Over the course of our kids’ lives we’ve lived a few different places.  We currently live close to the beach, so we’ve made a tradition of weekly beach trips.  In the colder months, we might just watch the waves or build sand castles and when it gets warmer, the kids are learning to surf.

Take advantage of local spots that only your family can visit!  It may not always be there, so make it part of your family’s memories.


I hope you’ll build on those simple traditions and maybe even plan some traditions on an even larger scale.  And this gets easier as the kids get older!  You’re making memories as a family.  It’s such a gift to give your children!


What are your big and little family traditions?



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Kristin is a former teacher turned children’s photographer in southern California. Visit her website to read all about her adventures in photography, cooking, and her love of style.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy June 20, 2013 at 1:57 am

We do family night every Saturday. We watch a movie but aa the kids grow we will introduce board games too. Of course there are yummy treats too. We thought we would give traditions a go and start with this. I am thrilled at how much our 3 year old loves it. He tells ANYONE who will listen that it’s family night when Saturday rolls around. It has even helped him learn the days of the week. Well worth it even when we are tired :-)


Steph (MPMK Founder) June 20, 2013 at 2:19 am

Love that Amy :). We have an informal tradition with movie night, meaning it’s not weekly but whenever we say “movie night” the kids always know we mean watching a movie, having a “picnic dinner” on beach towels on the living room floor, and then having some popcorn :). They LOVE it! Last week we watched The Lorax, which was a big hit and has a great message.


Pete June 27, 2013 at 8:10 am

I love this post. The little things like throwing the hands in the air or slug bug (we called it punch buggy) is great and inspires me to think more about this. We have the big annual tradition of the 12 hour car ride to the grand parents house but on a small scale I hope they remember playing and drawing together.


kristin eldridge photography June 27, 2013 at 9:20 pm

Thanks for bringing back some good ‘slug bug’ memories! It’s fun being a parent and making even the mundane (like car trips) FUN! Love your blog by the way. :)


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