Numerous studies point to the benefits of family traditions. Regular family dinners were shown to be a consistent factor in the family life of Rhodes scholars. Research shows family ritual and routine correlates with lower mental illness in teenagers.
According to one of the largest federally funded studies, “Teens and Their Parents in the 21st Century: Trends in Teen Behavior and the Role of Parental Involvement,” family dinner times reduce teenagers’ risks of alcohol abuse, drug abuse, smoking, and early sexual behaviors. Routine creates predictability, which is critical for children. Ritual creates meaning and consolidates an experience into a memorable moment to identify with throughout life.
Planning the menu can be the first ritual of a family campout. Letting everyone pitch in ideas and list their favorite foods kicks off the fun. You begin to anticipate the enjoyment of the trip. Shopping, packing the car together, making a bag of snacks for the drive, and picking out the music for the road trip all increase the excitement. Then the family hops in the car, feeling free as a bird. The vacation has begun, and you have everything you need to relax into a rich and rewarding experience.