In the organized chaos of day-to-day family life, it’s easy to get caught up in the anticipation of big events like graduations, birthdays, and weddings, but never take notice of the small wins that come our way. Without taking note of small wins, we lose a chance to see progress, cheer each other on, and make treasured memories.
Small milestones mark our journey through life. These seemingly minor triumphs, when acknowledged and appreciated, become the extraordinary in the ordinary.
Celebrate Those Small Wins
The first time your child rides a bike with no training wheels! The day you finally open the doors to the new business, the first visit to a dentist for your toddler; what about the day your six-year-old loses his first tooth!? Small Victories.
In the moment, no bells ring to tell you to pause. The laundry doesn’t fold itself, dinner still needs to get made, and the toddler- forget it, she’s already pulled all the books off the shelf again. The ordinary chaos will not take a break.
Now might not be the time…
But WAIT! If you don’t pause to celebrate this, if this isn’t an important moment, what really is? Don’t these small victories make up the stuff of life that we really want to remember? They happen all the time, don’t they? These little markers in our life that say, “You’ve done it! Hooray!!” And if we don’t slow down enough to celebrate them, no one will do it for us.
Ways to Celebrate Small Wins with Your Family
Celebrations don’t have to be complicated or take a lot of pre-planning. What we’re talking about with celebrating the small stuff is about making a comment to take that little pause and say, hey, this is good.
Here are 10 ways to celebrate small wins in your family.
Hang a Banner or a Bunting
Make a bunting or a banner to hang – this can be as simple as hanging some streamers.
Have a Picnic or a Tea Party
Have a picnic – during the summer, we often keep a “permanent picnic spot” in our yard. Or have a celebration tea party with some cookies.
Have a Celebratory Meal
Make a meal that says, “We’re Celebrating!” Whether it’s making pancakes and having breakfast for dinner, putting flowers on the table, or having ice cream for dessert. It doesn’t have to be big; just a little out of your routine can make it feel special.
Light a Candle
Light a candle at dinner. Include talking about the small victories of your day in your family’s dinner time rituals.
Make Some Art
Paint, draw or doodle about this milestone. Or ask your child to draw a picture to commemorate the victory and then display it proudly.
Write it Down
Write the story down. If you enjoy journaling, writing down small wins in a gratitude journal can be a way to take note of things that matter. If you have young kids, they may like hearing the story of their own accomplishments as a bedtime story.
Make a Memory Keeping Box or Jar
You can jot down lovely moments and store them in a jar or a box. If you make a memory box you can add little treasures or charms for these special moments.
Take a Drive
Take a family drive together. Is there a beautiful location near your home? You can celebrate by taking a drive and looking at a beautiful view.
Share the news!
Call Grammy and tell her! Share online in whichever space feels best to you! Let the people who love you celebrate with you.
Write about it – or scrap-book it, or share wherever you like to share family news and then call your kids over and show them so they can see that you’re telling people how great they are!
Make a Celebration All your Own
Whether it’s buying yourself flowers, taking a hike, or doing a dance, finding unique ways to celebrate that feel good to you is worth it.
Celebrations of Meaningful Moments Builds Connection and Resilience
Taking time to pause and celebrate helps us build connections with the people we love. These moments can add to our sense of community and help us build resilience and a feeling that we matter.
What will you do to celebrate a small victory?
Are you paying enough attention to the small wins, or are they slipping away in the daily grind? Next time you notice one of these small moments of success or happiness, I hope, that you take a second to celebrate. As Kurt Vonnegut Jr. So well put it, “And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”
Like our simple birthday traditions, celebrating small wins doesn’t have to be complicated, just a way to help everyone notice the good stuff.
Alissa Zorn is an author, and founder of the website Overthought This. She's a coach and cartoonist passionate about helping people overcome perfectionism and shame to build authentic, joyful lives. Alissa is certified through the International Coach Federation and got her Trauma-Informed Coaching certification from Moving the Human Spirit. She wrote Bounceback Parenting: A Field Guide for Creating Connection, Not Perfection, and is always following curiosity to find her next creative endeavor.