So you've moved in to the new home, and many of the boxes are unpacked. Now what? How do you begin to create family traditions in your new home, or new community?
Choose a Meal.
We often gravitate to dinner as the ideal meal to gather everyone around the table for family time, but breakfast can be just as meaningful, or perhaps it's simpler for your family to make the first Saturday lunch of the month your special time. The point of choosing a meal is to create tradition, habit and expectations. When you stick to a meal, your children or family members will come to look forward to this time together!
It can feel daunting when you move into a new community to maybe not know a soul. Want to know our secret for making friends fast? Volunteer! It may seem counter-intuitive because you have SO much to do at the new house. Small repairs, unpacking, sorting, and making it all feel like home. However, when you give even one hour every few weeks to a local organization, you can find like-minded people who may become your friends! At a bare minimum, you will be immediately giving back to your community, and who knows, your fellow volunteers may have some great suggestions for local restaurants to try or businesses to support!
Celebrate the small stuff.
If you have children attending new schools, introduce small celebrations instead of holding out for big wins. Instead of asking big questions like "how was school today?" try inquiring about something small like, "how many kids at your lunch table packed their own lunch?" or "What color shirt did your teacher have on today?" Celebrate and encourage them being aware of their surroundings and curious about their new school. It's also totally ok and acceptable to stop for ice cream every day after school for the first two weeks. (Cough, cough ... we did that after a recent move and it was a really lovely tradition to help take the pressure off of assimilating into a new school!)
Act like a tourist.
Pretend you are only going to be in your new area for a few weeks. What would you want to do, go visit or take part in? Google "Things to do in ______" to pull up a list of weekend activities. Get to know your new location from the eyes of someone who may only be visiting, and create some new memories and family traditions that way!
Pick just one place.
One of the things we have found super helpful in establishing roots in a new community or to help create family traditions is to choose ONE restaurant that we frequent regularly. Obviously you may need to try a few different locations before you settle on a favorite, but nothing says "we belong here" than the waitstaff remembering your family when you walk in the door! It also doesn't hurt to let them know you're new in town, and to ask for some recommendations!
Creating family traditions can feel daunting sometimes, but they will help you feel rooted, connected and welcome in your new community and home!