Rituals versus Routines: Both Can Keep Your Home More Peaceful

If you think routines and rituals are the same, you wouldn’t be alone. Although they share a sense of regularity—a routine is a sequence of actions regularly followed, and a ritual is a ceremony or act performed in a customary way—they differ at the core.

Routines are everyday behaviors and actions that create clear steps and organized boundaries, within your home and within your relationships. They are things such as making your bed, brushing your teeth, using inside voices, and completing your chores. Routines create stability and a predictable environment. Because they are completed regularly, everyone knows the expectations, which can help your children and youth and you feel safer in your home.

Rituals mirror the consistency of routines, but rituals include a sense of heart or intangible feelings of essence. Essence is something that makes us smile or feel good about ourselves or creates connection and greater closeness with others. Rituals tell us that something special is happening. A ritual might be winking at your child or youth, singing good-night songs, a silly handshake, an inside joke, special weekly time alone, or a Saturday night family spaghetti dinner followed by a walk to the ice cream shop.

In short, routines help children and youth feel safe, and rituals help children and youth feel special and loved.