Creating new family rituals
The current COVID-19 situation across the globe has meant that our usual ways of life have been significantly changed. Pregnant mothers might have to cancel baby showers, our little ones might miss out on big birthday celebrations and even family catch ups have been severely disrupted. Now, with Easter upon us, some of you might be grieving the loss of big family events with Easter egg hunts, home cooking and being surrounded by friends and family. So, how can we make Easter 2020 (and other celebrations) special, even though things are not the same?
Rituals play a special role in our families as they provide a sense of safety and belonging. We also know that rituals can be comforting and strengthen your unique family values. Having a special celebration during religious or cultural festivals is one example of a ritual (like opening one present each on Christmas Eve or a big Easter egg hunt with cousins) but we also have other rituals that happen each and every day. They can be hard to think of at first but think about how you greet each other or say goodbye, special songs you sing or, specific meals you eat (like pizza Fridays in my house!).
The day to day rituals are even more important during this current period of uncertainty and can help children to feel like there is some safety and predictability right now.
The upcoming Easter period is going to provide some unique challenges for everyone as usual celebrations are likely to be cancelled and you might have already been juggling working from home with children for a few weeks already. This might mean that they you feeling a bit burnt out in terms of parenting, so making Easter fun will be important for mums and dads too.
Here are some tips for making Easter special this year:
If you can, avoid doing any work over the Easter period. If you would normally have public holidays, then be sure to honour those even if you have been working from home. One of the challenges with working from home is that there is no physical difference between work and home which can blur the usual boundaries. A consequence of this is that it can be hard to switch off from work and parents might find themselves working at all hours.
Think about your usual traditions and how you might do some of them using technology- for example if you catch up with friends or cousins at Easter time think about using apps like Zoom, House party and FaceTime to continue the tradition in some way.
Try to cook something that is special to your family. You might always have fish on Good Fridays or a big roast on Easter Sunday which can still be done on a smaller scale. Share menus and take photos of your dishes to share with loved ones. You can also ask older family members for traditional recipes that you mightn’t have made before.
Come up with a completely new tradition- perhaps kids can help to think of new ways of doing things, like silly hat day or doing a scavenger hunt.
Take advantage of the relatively cheap Easter crafts at the shops like bonnets, baskets and decorating eggs.
(If you have any other ideas be sure to leave a comment below)
You can also apply these tips to other celebrations that might be interrupted in this challenging time like birthdays and anniversaries.
It will be important to also express excitement and gratitude during the Easter celebrations in whatever forms it takes. While it might not be the norm for you and your family you might find that you come up with new traditions that might actually continue into the future.
And, check out this cool announcement from the WA premier Mark McGowan about the Easter Bunny this year… it could help little ones to feel safe that he will come and bring eggs this year