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The value of early childhood rituals

Children celebrating Holi in Kolkata, India
Children celebrating Holi in Kolkata, India
Credit: Kaushik Sengupta/AP

We can help establish a sense of order for our children when we have routines and rituals. Routines help for daily activities. They help us be prepared and as our children grow, they, too, can develop the habit of taking the steps in the routines for themselves.

Rituals occur less often, but also help order the child’s life. We have celebration rituals for birthdays and holidays. We have courtesies and manners. We have politeness and consideration.

Our children learn to value themselves when they utilize standards and vocabulary that express appreciation and when they know how to behave for important occasions. The feedback they receive reinforces their sense of value.

Rather than imposed values, being prepared with gracious responses to daily or seasonal occasions helps a child integrate into society in a mature way, whatever the age. It is good for children to seek out ways to be gracious, based on the experiences they have at home.

Children who know how to participate in a responsible way for daily routines and special occasions, who have started to cultivate an enjoyment of being helpful, will be welcome anywhere, and will be able to appreciate rituals and special occasions in many cultures. They will enjoy the security and comfort of their own culture, be able to share it graciously, and be able to understand the value of other cultures.

© 2014 Kathryn Hardage

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