Building Family Traditions Around the Table

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This post is part of the 2018 Homeschooling Through the Holidays series.

Webster’s defines a tradition as the handing down of customs by example from one generation to another. The holidays offer a great time to focus on family and building traditions. And, it is also a good time to incorporate those types of things into homeschooling.

This year as the holiday’s approach I want to take the opportunity to hand down more of those customs to my kids. One thing we’re focusing on this year is quality family table time.

In our home, it is always a challenge to sit together for a family meal. We roadschool and full-time RV so our dining room table is small, to say the least. And, we end up spread out a bit more and not sitting across from each other as much as I’d like.

Plus, my husband often works odd hours and off shifts, meaning he isn’t always home at mealtime. So, the kids and I end up eating on the couch and at different times with the TV running more often than not. And, while none of those things are wrong, it has just all added up to not a lot of face time at dinner.


Ideas for building family traditions around the table - FREE Thanksgiving placemat for kids


Building Family Table Traditions

In an effort to incorporate the holidays into our homeschooling I’m taking the opportunity to focus on building up our family relationships with some quality table time together this year.

And, I’m starting small with focusing on our holiday meals. Making those a focus and building a tradition of getting quality table time in on Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. My simple plan is to extend our time at the table and hopefully our family conversations.

There are so many ways to make family time full of traditions. If you’re trying to focus more on this at holiday time this year, below are a few ways to extend and enrich your family mealtime and build tradition this holiday season.

Make it special

Help your kids to linger a little longer at the table this year by adding little extras. Special treats they don’t get at every mealtime can really help to build a sense of excitement and keep them happily sitting as a family.

Try adding a fun FREE placemat full of activities to your child’s place this Thanksgiving. Making the time spent around the table more fun and creating happy memories at the same time.

Click here to get your FREE Thanksgiving Placemats!


Life is so busy these days and getting face time with family can happen less than we’d like. So, linger a little longer at the table this year and take time to talk.

One fun addition to the table that will stimulate conversation is a fall estimation jar. My kids get so excited about discussing how many things they see through the glass.

Also, take time to discuss things that are important to you. Talk about what you’re all grateful for. And, add in a few jokes too to make sure you laugh with each other.

Even if your kids are young I’ll bet they already have a favorite holiday memory to share.

Ask, them about it. And, share your childhood holiday memories as you make new ones. Here are a few conversation starters to start with:

“What is your favorite Thanksgiving or Christmas memory?”

“What was your favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal today?”

“If you could have one holiday twice each year which one would it be and why?”


Big holiday meals are a perfect time to reminisce and tell stories.

Think back to holidays during your childhood. What dish did your mother and you use to make every Thanksgiving together? Tell your children about it and about her.

Or prompt Grandpa to tell stories about his childhood holidays.

And, don’t forget to ask your kids what their favorite part of this and past holidays are so they can exercise those storytelling muscles.

Sing Songs

In our house, the Christmas season starts right after Thanksgiving. If not before! So, why not start on Thanksgiving day this year by signing a few Christmas songs?

We love to sing as a family. And, this year my children are learning the lyrics to several Christmas songs in a Music of Christmas Mini-Course. It’s amazing how many of these songs I thought I knew the words to!

Singing is such a beautiful way to bond as a family and a fantastic way to praise God and ready our hearts for the Christmas season ahead.

Play Games

After the dishes are cleared away from this year’s holiday meal why not take time to play together.

Pull out some LEGOS and have a Thanksgiving Brick Building Challenge. Or spend some time playing a favorite board game or card game as a family.

Taking time to really connect while relaxing in each other’s company is sure to build up family relationships.

I pray you have a blessed Holiday Season!
Heidi is a mama on a search for simple homeschool days through child-led, hands-on learning while roadschooling USA. Jesus and family are at the heart of everything she does. She passionately creates resources to help other homeschool mamas on their journey.
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Hi, there! I’m Heather Bowen, and I am so glad you’re here.

My passion lies in helping homeschool moms balance marriage, motherhood, homemaking, and homeschooling all while remaining sane!

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