Whether you're stuck at home with a blended family or a first family - times like these can become trials of patience. Tempers can get short and attention can wan. For blended families finding ways to make home feel "normal" is difficult. For first families, spending time together may be normal and at the same time, sibling rivalry can flare. One of the easiest ways to bond with your family (blended or bio) is to share traditions from your own childhood. This accomplishes a few things:
- It fills the time with interesting, but not "when I was your age I walked up hill to school, five miles, in the rain, with no shoes on" parent stories (that reek of judgment and turn off even the most patient of children).
- It helps your family (blended or bio) get to know about a different part of you.
- Fond memories bring a lightness to the heart and can have a calming and positive affect on the autonomic system (making you, one of the adults, better able to model how to tolerate transitional situations).
- Lastly, if you can recreate the tradition, it gives everyone something to do and adds to making a positive new memory. Sharing happy or fun memories bond people together.
- Fun can help balance the grief that is likely being experienced for the loss of normal, the loss of seeing friends, the loss of jobs, or not seeing grandparents.
A tradition I have shared through childhood with my bio-family, that I brought to my blended family, is making hollowed out Easter eggs as Easterly keepsakes.
Items you'll need:
1 dozen white eggs (or more if you wish)
1 large safety pin
1 container to catch egg whites/yolks
1 egg dying kit
Crayons to write names on eggs (if desired)
Assorted arts and crafts items: children's catalogs, magazines with cute animals pictures, gem stones, thin ribbons, stickers or any other desired items for decorating.
- hot glue gun for attaching ribbons,
- regular glue for attaching magazine cut outs to the eggs
- School glue to mix with a bit of water to brush over adornments
- Modge podge to spray on eggs when they’re finished.
Step 1 - Hollowing out eggs
Using the large safety pin, poke a hole in the bottom of the egg (largest end). Keep poking around the edge of the first pin-prick to eventually create a hole. Poke gently as eggshell cracks like thing-ice. It can splinter through the egg if you grip is too hard.
- Flip the egg over.
- Using the same technique, poke a hole in the top of the egg that’s a bit smaller than the hole in the bottom.
- Holding the egg over the container, gently blow into the egg and push the whites and yolk out through the bottom.
- Repeat for all 12 eggs.
Hollowed out eggs using a large safety pin
Step 2 - Dying and decorating
- I use egg dying kits from the store - nothing fancy.
- Dye eggs according to package instructions
- If you want to put a name on the egg shell use a white crayon to write the name and then place the egg shell in the dye. You can also write the name on afterward in a darker color crayon.
- While eggs are drying sort through magazines, or children’s catalogs for cute animals, flowers, patterns of color: anything will work
- Once eggs are dry begin gluing items to the eggs.
- I used a combination of stick glue on the cutouts before putting them on the egg, and a sponge paintbrush to dab a mix of glue and water onto the egg to seal all the edges down after the cutouts are applied.
- For larger items like ribbon, cord, gemstones or heavier papers, I used a hot glue gun to attach thicker or heavier adornments.
- Ribbons to hot glue onto dyed eggs
- Decorations for hollowed out eggs
Then dye eggs according to the package instructions and let eggs air dry after dying. Once they're dry, start decorating with your imagination. The sky's the limit!
- Decorated hollowed out eggs.
Having a "new normal" can be challenging to navigate. Bonding through making new family traditions or making old traditions different (and "more eggs-citing") can help people of all ages accept the transition and grieve the loss of the old familiarity of our daily lives.
Use this unsettled time to try to create fun memories, learn about your family members in new ways and re-evaluate priorities. Bonding with anyone starts with asking about (and at least acting interested) in what's interesting to them. What's your child's favorite book? What music is your teen listen to and what makes them connect with that artist? Mom and Dad, what were you like, and what did you feel about life, when you were your kids age? Sharing activities makes the time pass and is fun. If you'll take a moment a think about fond memories from childhood, it's the fun times we can recall the fastest. Fun memories bond our families.