Friday, October 31, 2008

The Importance of Family Traditions

This year was the first year that I heard the girls articulate the importance of having family traditions.

Each year, the girls go trick-or-treating around my parents' home (their grandparents). They go with their cousins which is something they look forward to doing.

Because of having a puppy this year and having limited time away from the house, I thought perhaps modifying the Halloween tradition by simply visiting grandparents during the day and showing them the costumes would be something the girls would be okay with. Apparently not.

"I've been looking forward to having dinner with everyone and then going out trick or treating with my cousins!" Sophia said. Olivia agreed.

There was no changing this tradition.

Having traditions that children anticipate and can count on is so important. They can predict what can happen...when it will happen...and have some control over their lives. It provides comfort and assurance in a world that sometimes doesn't always offer that to children.

One thing I did have to modify this year was going out and getting new costumes for the girls. Having had a very difficult year financially because of medical issues as well as damage to the house from the storms in May, I had the girls choose costumes from ones they already had. Sophia chose to be a pioneer girl and Olivia chose to be a giraffe. Although disappointed that they didn't get a new costume, they were happy with the costumes they wore this year.

Another tradition that I do with the girls each year is to add to their "Halloween Bag." The bag Olivia is holding is a pillowcase that I dyed, put an orange ribbon around the top so she can tie it, and thraced her handprint on. In the center of the handprint is the costume she wore and the year.

Sophia also has a bag like this with her handprints, but she chose to use the pumpkin I used when I was growing up.

The girls enjoy looking at how their hands have grown through the years and what costume they wore each year.

Again...a simple activity...but one they count on and look forward to doing each year.

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