Family Routines and Rituals

Often times we don’t know where they came from or how they started, but we engage in routines and rituals throughout our days. On my way home from work I call my spouse to check in and ask if anything unexpected will keep him at work late. Once a week we get together with extended family and have a meal together. Every Thanksgiving we go to my parent’s house up north, so the kids can experience fall changing into winter. These things have become part of our lives, we can expect that they will occur, and when they don’t we feel like something is a little off.

According to research, there are 3 major benefits to having your family partake in routines and rituals.

1. Personal Development

Routines and rituals provide a structure that guides behavior and an emotional climate that supports early development and allow children to build social skills in a meaningful way (Spagola & Fiese, 2007). Especially in the early years of childhood. Routines and rituals help improve self-regulation and intellectual development (Ferretti, 2014).

2. Instill Values and Morals

We want our children to make good decisions as they grow older. Rituals facilitate interactions between family members. This allows families to pass down cultural information, as well as, beliefs and values across generations (Viere, 2001). By implementing rituals and routine you can ensure that your children will understand what you believe to be important in life.

3. Prepare for Crisis and Stress  

One thing that is for certain is that we will all face hardships in life. It is inevitable that your family will experience some type of trouble together, whether it be through death, financial struggle, divorce or something else; rituals will keep you close knit. When hardship strikes rituals can provide your family stability (Vivre, 2001).

Routines allow us to feel comfort in knowing what will happen throughout our days and rituals allow us to connect to those around us. When we look at the way society is changing, we can see that without both families would be lost. Take a few minutes and think about what routines and rituals you already have in place. Think about what other routines and rituals you would like to implement into your life. Every family is different, so be sure to cater to your families needs. If you want the routines and rituals to be longstanding be realistic in what you create and make sure to take into account everyone’s likes and dislikes, as well as, schedules.  

Ferretti, L. K., & Bub, K. L. (2014). The influence of family routines on the resilience of low-income preschoolers. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 35(3), 168-180. Retrieved from
Spagnola, M., & Fiese, B. H. (2007). Family routines and rituals: A context for development in the lives of young children. Infants & Young Children, 20(4), 284-299. Retrieved from
Viere, G. M. (2001, July). Examining family rituals. The Family Journal: Counseling and Therapy for Couples and Families, 9(3), 285-288. Retrieved from  

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