What Are Some of Our Family Rituals

What Are Some of Our Family Rituals?

The family that eats and plays together, stays together. What are your family rituals?

Chrissie Swan, radio and TV host, recipient of a Logie for Most Popular Female Presenter, top three survivor of I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here; mother to Leo, six, Kit, four, and Peggy, two.

Meals

We have dinner at 5pm because my kids are STARVING. My six year old has just started to set the table. My four year old likes to be in charge of water, which sometimes involves a spill – but that’s part of the charm, isn’t it? Mealtimes are a bit loco, and we find the best option is to have make-your-own tortillas or homemade pizzas. We try to keep the TV off at dinnertime, but on Fridays we have a ‘couch dinner’ with spag bol in front of Toy Story!

Holidays

We have spent two weeks in Bali every winter for three years, just swimming and reading and talking. Bliss.

Friday Night/Date Night

I wish! By the time Friday rolls around, we are all exhausted. The only ritual is the lack of one. We go to bed whenever, without a care of having to make lunches or track down bits of uniforms and excursion forms.

Special to You

On the mornings when it’s just my eldest son and me, we might pop into a cafe close to school, grab some Vegemite toast and chat about life one on one.

Robyn Foyster, Publisher, TheCarousel.com and former Editor-in-Chief of The Australian Women’s Weekly; mother to James, 17, and Michael, 19.

Meals

Family dinners are where we all catch up, and there are always healthy debates which carry on long after we’ve finished.

Holidays

Taking board games like Scrabble, Articulate and Monopoly away with us on holiday is a ritual we all love. It can get very competitive at times – but in a fun way.

Friday Night/Date Night

My husband and I used to pick different restaurants and enjoy a lovely meal out. Nowadays, my son has debating on Friday nights, so we go to that instead – but going out to restaurants is something we’d like to start doing again.

Special to You

At Christmas, we always play charades. I’m terrible at it, so I never win, but the worse you are the funnier it can be.

Penny Johnston, Babytalk presenter, ABC Radio; mother to Harry, six.

Meals

We have friends who ask their children a brilliant set of questions every night, such as, “What did you enjoy about your day?” However, my family sees through this ruse instantly. Mostly, my husband and I try to keep our six year old sitting at the table and eating food.

Holidays

My husband Jamie’s dad was a farmer, and we would often go out in the ute together to inspect the rogue radiata pine seedlings growing on the farm verges. We’d pick the winning candidate, trying not to look suspicious if the neighbours drove past. There were always long funny arguments over which tree was the best. This will be the first year we get a tree alone, as Jamie’s dad passed away.

Friday Night/Date Night

Aren’t Friday nights the best? We love to hang about at home with another family or friends, pooling ingredients while the children play and the adults have a debrief and a beverage!

Special to You

Jamie is brilliant at injecting something silly or spontaneous into our days. One super hot and grouchy night, he rounded our neighbours and us up and drove us to the local swimming pool. We were all so excited to be cool and happy again – we stayed and ate fish and chips on the grass while the children ran around. Now on hot summer nights we invariably find friends and neighbours down at that pool, where the local volunteers have become so used to us that they let us help them pack up (so they’ll stay open longer!).

Dr Gemma Munro, CEO and founder of Inkling Women; mother to Xavier, seven, and Abigail, four.

Meals

We always start the meal by thanking the chef, and saying “Bon appétit!”

Holidays

Each holiday involves at least one ‘daggy day’. As a business owner, I’m lucky enough to take school holidays off, and each holiday we spend an entire day in our pyjamas – cuddling, watching movies and eating picnic food – outside if the weather is good, or on a sheet on the family room rug if it isn’t.

Friday Night/Date Night

Each Friday my colleagues and I track our key measures while drinking champagne. I come home merry! We then eat homemade pizzas that my husband cooks, yell “HAPPY FRIDAY” and clink glasses – champagne for Ben and me, and water for the kids.

Special to You

The birthday child gets the breakfast of their choice in our bed. Also, Saturday morning cuddles and pancakes is a staple.

Professor Colleen Hayward AM, Head of Edith Cowan University’s Centre for Indigenous Education and Research, WA Ambassador for Children and Young People, senior woman of south-west WA’s Noongar people, and one of six siblings.

Meals

We all had our own places at the table and conversation was about our respective days. We were not allowed to talk over each other and had to finish everything, especially the vegetables.

Holidays

During school breaks, we would drive to Kalgoorlie where my grandparents lived. In Christmas holidays, because Dad taught swimming, we’d go where his contract took us. One of my favourite memories is when we house-swapped with friends. It was the only way either family could afford to get away, but it was wonderful and I’m still friends with the children of that family.

Friday Night/Date Night

Ritual night was Thursday – payday – when Mum and Dad bought fish and chips as a treat.

Special to You

Mum and Dad were both teachers, so getting ready to go to school each day was what everyone in the household did. It took almost military precision.

Belinda Murrell, award-winning children’s author of the Lulu Bell series, and ambassador for Room to Read; mother to Nick, 19, Emily, 17, and Lachlan, 15.

Meals

Most nights, we sit down to a home-cooked meal. Phones are off, the table is set with flowers and pretty crockery, and everyone shares the day’s funny highlights, achievements or disappointments.

Holidays

Every holiday, we write a long list of experiences each family member would love to do: see a movie, go snorkelling, horse riding, or for a super-long bushwalk.

Friday Night/Date Night

On Friday night we have big groups of families and friends over for a barbeque on the deck, or a Thai curry around our open fire.

Special to You

Book sharing. When the kids were little, we started every morning with the whole family cuddled up in bed with a pile of picture books. As they learned to read, we took turns reading out loud. Now they’re older, we take turns reading a well-loved novel or series, then talk about it. Often the kids will thrust a book in my hands and say, “Mum, you have to read this”.


Words by Natalie Ritchie

Natalie Ritchie
Natalie Ritchie
natalie.ritchie@copelandpublishing.com.au