On the importance of rituals: tea time

 
 

Children need rituals. They need rituals because it gives them a sense of control over their environment. Rituals make the day more predictable for a child and it provides a sense of security. I am not a big fan of schedules so our days are pretty flexible, but we do have two rituals that we love doing every day: the bedtime ritual (see our favorite books here and here) and the teatime ritual.

We have our teatime ritual either in the morning on in the afternoon when we need a quiet moment at home. We also stop in one of our cosy (gemütlich) coffee shops and tea houses in our neighborhood. My daughter loves this ritual and each time she spots on one of our favorite places she shows it to me saying "thé! thé! thé!" (tea! tea! tea!).

Here is one of our favorite places that serves fresh ginger-mint tea:

 
 

When at home, we prepare tea together. In the Montessori way of living, children are very much involved in every day life from a very young age. I didn't know that a 20 months old can make a cup of tea (with a little help from a grown-up) before I had my daughter and integrated the Montessori pedagogy in our lives since she was born.

 
 

Before we start making tea, I prepare everything on a tray. I use a Japanese-style teapot which it makes it easier for her to pour the tea. I put everything on the tray: the cups for both of us, the teapot, the box where I store the tea, a wooden scoop, a little sponge (because tea goes inevitably on the tray too ;) and a kitchen timer. She does every step, except for setting the time. Our kitchen timer is not children friendly and I'm looking for a new one. I make sure that the water is only lukewarm.

Children love to be in charge of activities that contribute to the family. And they love rituals. So preparing the tea seems to me the perfect combination of these two important aspects.

This ritual also helps us stay in touch with our "Asian soul". We have lived in Asia for almost two years and we know that preparing tea and drinking it is such an important cultural component in many Asian countries. By continuing integrating it in our lives we honor the time we spent there and we keep our memories alive. I think that for my daughter who spent the first year of her life there it is important to have these cultural references. It is a part of who she has become by living abroad.