US Nanny Institute on October 27, 2020
Children love to get candy on Valentine’s day, dress up for Halloween and make a wish list for Santa. Family traditions help a child develop a positive sense of self and well-being. They help a child build self-confidence as they create a sense of belonging and acceptance.
Traditions are inherited or established customs or celebrations that are passed on from one generation to the next. They can be family traditions, local and national customs, religious ceremonies, and cultural celebrations. These shared traditions become the characteristics that define our culture as individuals, families, communities, and Americans. Many traditions reinforce values that are important to families such as freedom, faith, and charity.
Family traditions build on the bond of the family. They can pass on the values the family considers important. Spending time together creates a sense of family togetherness and provide comfort and security that allows the child to develop a sense of belonging. Not all traditions have to be formal and reinforce family values. Families may choose to develop a secret handshake or way of acknowledging each other in a crowd without being overly obvious. They may take the first and last day of school photos each year to create a memory book. Families may have an annual tradition of supporting a local charity for their annual fund-raising campaign. There may be a designated board game or movie night each month or a designated time for a family walk.
Traditions allow families to promote and focus on the models and values that really matter in life. Celebrating love on Valentine’s day includes candy but should also include a chat with the children about loyalty and trust within a family. Celebrating Christmas may include gifts from Santa but may also include discussion and activities that teach children about faith and service. The focus of Thanksgiving is gratitude and is a good time to teach children about charity work and helping others. Children should understand that everyone goes through times of need and people they know can make a difference. Nannies can help with crafts and activities that reinforce the parent’s views.
Traditions create a sense of comfort and belonging. This is especially true in elementary school where teachers help instill values by celebrating local and national holidays. Some holidays have lost a bit of their history as Memorial Day and Veterans day have become retail holidays focused on sale prices. Every child should understand the origins of the holiday, not just see it as a day off from school. It’s important parents and nannies retain traditions with the latest generation by planting flags in the yard, thanking a veteran for their service or attending a local parade.
Depending on the family’s religious beliefs, a child may have different experiences at different times of the year. December is a month that encompasses the Christian and Jewish celebrations of Christmas and Hanukkah. The month also has spiritually significant days for Muslims and Buddhists. Kwanzaa is also celebrated in December. Whatever a family chooses to celebrate it’s an exciting time for a child.
Traditions are not always celebrated on a special day. Many are incorporated into daily life. Some people pray at specific times of the day such as in the morning, before meals, or at night. Others may wear specific types of clothing.
It does not matter what the reason behind the tradition, the act of talking about and celebrating an idea, symbol or event brings people together and reinforces connections with friends and family. Most importantly for children, traditions create lasting memories with family and friends and help them identify a sense of self and belonging. As parents, nannies and childcare providers, we all have the opportunity to teach children core values through traditions.
The US Nanny Institute provides online childcare classes with certification programs based on a curriculum specifically designed to advance the skills of Nannies and Sitters. The Nanny Institute has over 30 college faculty with a passion for education and childcare, bringing them together to help childcare providers gain practical skills and qualifications that benefit their careers and the children in their care.
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