10 Everyday Rituals that Mean a Lot to Kids

I often get caught up in the ‘big moments’ of parenting, putting so much energy into preparing good food, creating exciting adventures, planning holidays and going overboard on parties. These things matter, of course, and I daresay my kids are grateful for them  but what I have learned in my almost-13 years of parenting, though, is that the big things don’t matter half as much as the tiny moments.

“What’s your favourite memory from this year?” I asked my 8-year-old on New Year’s Eve.

“When we made the apple muffins together and found the worm inside the apple,” came the prompt response.

Not your sleepover birthday party? Not your hip hop concert? Not our trip to Europe at the beginning of the year?

Nope. Nope. Nope. “Although I did like our after-dinner walks on Tuesdays,” she said.

The little memories are her favourites. They are the ones that mean the most.

I’ve always known this, of course. As well as investing my heart and soul (and a good deal of my sanity) into the big things, I’ve tried very hard to pay attention to the little things too. Here are my  top 10 ‘tiny moments’ that I try to share with my children regularly. The moments they remember; the moments I treasure.

10 Everyday Rituals That Mean So Much to Your Kids

10 Everyday Rituals That Mean A Lot to Kids

1. After-dinner walks. On Tuesdays, it’s Lottie’s turn; Wednesdays is Max; Thursdays is Arabella. We don’t get to go every single week, but we do try to head out, even just for 15 minutes, most weeks. This is precious one-on-one time for my children and a way to strengthen our friendship as we amble along, talking about not much and everything.

2. Baking muffins. These days my kids make these all on their own, but when they were smaller, ‘helping’ me bake was the highlight of their week. I pretty-much loathed every minute of it (baking with kids is bloody hard work), but I would never, ever let them know that. Instead, I would half-look forward to helping them explore the kitchen each week. Their happiness as they scooped, poured and stirred was enough for me to keep going, year after year.

3. Feeding the pets. Another one that the kids are now responsible for, but a quality, everyday moment when they were small. Giving each child a little job to do made them proud and I’m sure helped develop their compassionate natures as they took responsibility for their pets.

4. Bath time. The temptation to rush the bath was always strong during witching hour… but, a bath washes away a lot more than just dirt. Taking time to softly scoop water over the children’s backs and encouraging them to gently swirl the water, was meditative and calming.

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5. Cups of tea. I have long enjoyed my morning cuppa on the front verandah, overlooking the bush and taking 5 minutes to welcome the day. Years ago, I started serving the kids their milk in a tea cup so they could join me in my ritual. They respected that this was ‘quiet time’ and before long we were taking the moment to share what we would like to accomplish in the day. A three year old with a daily goal – not a bad outcome from our little tea ritual.

6. Card games. My kids all love a game of cards, which is no surprise as they have been playing various card games all their young lives. We started with simple games like Go Fish and worked our way up to Gin Rummy and others. A quick card game while the dinner cooks is still one of my favourite moments of any day.

7. Reading aloud. The benefits of reading with kids is well-documented. It’s so good for them. What I never stopped to consider until it was almost gone, though, is how beneficial it is for parents too. Reading to your children is an enormously rewarding thing to do and, quite possibly, the only ‘quiet time’ you get together in a whole day.  When you think about it like that, the 157th re-telling of Where is the Green Sheep? mightn’t feel like such a punishment.

8. Winks and in-jokes. By far my most precious moments with my kids have all centred on sharing a joke that only we get. The kids all love it when I wink at them, or pull a silly face behind their dad’s back, or tell them a joke about something we’ve experienced. They like to feel like they are ‘in on the joke’ and it connects us together through shared experience.

Connecting with Kids: 10 Everyday Rituals That Will Mean So Much To Your Kids

9. Join in their play. I have never especially liked playing kid games. I’m not one of those mothers who is down on the floor with the train set… until I am. Making time to spontaneously join in my children’s play has been a way to delight them for as long as I can remember.  Perhaps this only works because they don’t expect me to be there (years of training, there), but it works for me!

10. Best of, Worst of. Each night at dinner we ask for each other’s ‘best of/worst of/grateful for/looking forward to’. It’s been the same thing, year after year, since the kids could first talk. It’s a unique way to find out about their day and, most importantly, teaching them to be grateful and optimistic. In their world, there is always something good to look forward to.

What everyday rituals mean the most at your place?

For more on connecting with kids by Bron, check out 10 Things Parents Do That Really Matter To Kids;

10 Things Parents Do That Really Matter to KidsAbout Bron: Bron is the Editor of Mumtastic and blogs at Maxabella Loves. She is raising her three kids to be daring and darling,  although frankly it’s 80% success, 20% epic fail.  Say hi on Facebook or Instagram.






  1. Proving once again how universal this thing called “parenting” can be, our U.S. based nonprofit Doing Good Together™ has offered much of this advice as well, but perhaps with a twist. Daily tea is a lovely but probably not too common habit for Americans, but taking time for mindfulness and conversation is important for family connection. Thanks for this reminder that the little moments do add up to become the Big Moments indeed! (And warm greetings from the mostly chilly USA!)

    1. I don’t allow my children to have chocolate (or much sugar in any form) yet, so tea is a lovely ritual we have adopted over the typical hot chocolate. I hope more American families see this as an alternative to sugar-based treats!

  2. Familyof4 says:

    I like the tea one as well. Tonight I’m turning the tv off

  3. We love our nightly “dance party” where each child gets to dance while we watch.
    It’s become the much awaited time of the day.

  4. There are benefits to reading aloud to teens as well!

  5. I couldn’t agree more with this post! The things I remember most fondly from my childhood are the silly little everyday things – reading together, talking, even getting help with homework (and who knew that would be a good memory, lol!)

  6. Thanks for sharing. It’s always great to frane things we just do without realising we do them every day. Moments with kids are so precious. I think deciding what to have for breakfast and then helping get what is needed and then helping pour cut mix or what ever ( depending on what we are having) has been one of my two year olds fav. 5hings since he was about 6 months old.

  7. Thanks for the reminder of simple things. In the overwhelming of the everyday hustle and bustle, simple things to do with the kids does not take weeks to plan, being spontaneous will be fun!

  8. My son turned 13 this month and I’ve been struggling over the past 2 years with getting him to participate in interesting activities or do anything with me.

    I have tried most of the things mentioned above and much more but rarely does my son likes to get into any family time.
    When my son was little we were doing a lot each day. I was fully involved, hands on mum that was always there for him. But from the age of 9-10 y/o my son became independent quite fast and doesn’t want to do almost anything together. He doesn’t allow family bonding time as he doesn’t seem to enjoy it nor want it. He doesn’t want me to be involved in the things he is interested in either. I don’t even know what music he likes these days as he wouldn’t let me hear it.

    I would very much appreciate any suggestions on how to connect with my independent 13 y/o boy, as well as any suitable activities for family bonding you might think of.

    1. Hello Kay!
      I just read your story, you must be finding that so hard ?
      I’ve read a fantastic book that I know of a few people who’ve put it into practise with great results and thought you may be interested. It’s an easy read and very interesting. It’s by Gary Chapman and called “the 5 Love Languages of Children.”
      Hope it works for you
      Rach ?

    2. I have heard other parents say there teens are more likely to open when they are driving.

    3. You could ask him to pick some music while you are making dinner. My daughter loves to share her music and we often take it in turns to pick each song. She loves it when she picks a song that I don’t know! Music is usually a great way of opening conversation because teens tend to feel really strongly about a band and know a lot about them. If he doesn’t seem keen but you know a general genre that he likes then you could pick a random song and see if it sparks his interest. Also, music isn’t ‘prying’ to a teen the same way asking about friends is sometimes seen

  9. chantelle d says:

    we like to water the vegetable garden together after dinner

  10. Loved this!! We do favorite and least favorite part of the day too, but I never thought of adding in greatful for and looking forward to also. I also love the 15 minute walks/alone time. Going to implement that also. Thanks for the great suggestions!

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  13. HawaiiFam says:

    Aloha! I love your beautiful list of suggested rituals. My husband and I are very much into tea ceremony. We don’t have any children of our own, but are Aunty and Uncle to many. I love having Gong Fu tea ceremony with the littles! It helps them focus and be aware of their bodies. We drink out of little cups.
    Often at my tea table is the first time a toddler experiences drinking out of a cup (rather than a sippy cup). Other activities we love to do to help focus a group of little ones is the use of HuMandalas exercises. It incorporates making a designs representing natures patters using our bodies and hands. I recommend http://www.humandala.com for more information. Aloha!

  14. this popped up on my Pinterest today and I just wanted to say thank you for the reminder. Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in our everyday lives especially with multiple kids, but this article reminded me to slow down a little. It can be such a task baking, getting everyone ready for a walk, sitting down to play a game when you have 100 things to do, but these things truly do make such a difference not only for my kids but for me as well. I’ll have to try the morning tea ritual you do, I really like that one!

  15. Well said, little things matter so much. We have gone TV free during the week. It was hard to begin with, but our house runs so much easier without the distraction. Homework gets done easier, the kids do their jobs, and we find we spend more time playing table tennis or card games and interacting in general. They also really appreciate the chance for some screen time on the weekend and are very choosy about what they watch because it is limited. Its been a win all around. Thanks for some new ideas!

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