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Your 3-year-old now
Traditions that revolve around birthdays, holidays, and seasons help to create strong families. Think back to your own childhood. Can you remember the smell or taste of a special birthday cake your mom used to bake? Or the excitement of going to the pumpkin patch year after year?
Now's a great time to start creating those memories for your child. Traditions offer a way to stay connected. Working together to bake Grandma's special cookies, you can share stories from your own life as well as from the generations that came before. "Grandma used to make these cookies with me when I was your age. I remember how she would let me help stir and how we'd decorate them with raisins and sprinkles." Traditions are a kind of kin-keeping that's especially important in an era when extended families are often geographically scattered.
The predictability of traditions also helps children feel secure. Even though your 3-year-old might not remember what happened when she was 2, over the years she will remember many aspects of these ritual celebrations. What's more, attending religious services or helping out every Thanksgiving in a soup kitchen helps children learn values that are important to you.
Your life now
Have you given any thought to how big a family you might like to have? Some families just grow in ad hoc fashion, while others are more carefully planned. Just under a third of families have three kids or more – a proportion that's been consistent for quite a while despite a lot of talk in the press lately about a supposed trend toward large families.
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