Parenting Guide

Parenting Guide

Exclusive Rituals

Rituals that are exclusive—that is, unique to your child— make certain activities even more special and powerful.
A song, phrase, or rhyme may become an exclusive ritual that only you and your child share. Thus, it becomes a symbol of your mutual understanding and unique relationship. For example, you could say, “I keep you in my heart all day” at daycare drop-off. Or you could make up or pick a special song for bath time, to soothe her when she’s overstimulated, or to ease a difficult (but necessary) transition or routine.

Share routines with your child’s caregivers, so that the caregivers can also implement them consistently. Sharing your child’s routines builds partnerships among you, your child, and her caregiver. When caregivers are with your child, they, too, can add their own exclusive rituals to your child’s routine. For example, Ruby always has the same bedtime routine (brush teeth, book, cuddles, and lights out).

• When Daddy puts her to bed, their exclusive ritual is a silly “No-Monsters” rhyme before lights out.

• When Ruby stays with Grandma, she follows the same routine, but Ruby knows to expect a different, equally special ritual: At cuddle time, Grandma sings her the song Ruby’s great-great-grandmother sang to Grandma when she was little.

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