As a busy wife and mom, preparing for the new year is serious business for me. I intentionally make time to reflect, pray, and plan. Then one day it hit me. I was doing all this planning for me but I wasn’t including those who matter most to me. I was leaving out my fellas. That’s was when I knew I needed to do something different. So a few years ago, we made the shift to start preparing our fellas for the New Year too.
Here are three practical ways we help our fellas prepare for a new year.
Write thank you notes
One meaningful way we help our fellas prepare for the new year is to properly thank those who have given to them during the holidays and throughout the year. This is a non-negotiable in our home. By taking the time to complete handwritten notes, we are teaching our children to take time to reflect on the thought and kindness of others. We want to close the year expressing our gratitude toward others.
There are several ways you can encourage your child to take part in writing thank you notes.
- Stationary matters: Allow your child to pick out thank you stationary that fits his/her personality
- Be creative: For children too young to write, allow them to draw a picture expressing their gratitude.
- Lead by example: your children are more likely to write their thank you notes when they see it is something you do.
Reflect on the year
Now that a new year is upon us, what better time to reflect on all that God has done for your family. We take this time to honor the past year by celebrating our blessings, embracing our challenges, and being in awe of God’s goodness. Whether over hot chocolate and desserts or gathered together in your PJs on New Year’s Eve, there’s not a right or wrong way reflect on the year. The important part is doing it together as a family acknowledging the lessons learned and memories made. Teaching children how to actively reflect equips them with the tools necessary to collect, record, and analyze what happened and why. They learn how to think about what works, what didn’t and why.
Reflecting as a family can be quite simple.
- Start. Stop. Continue: Based upon this year, what is one thing you would like to start, what you would like to stop and what you would like to continue. If this is too deep for your kids, you can ask what you would want to start, stop and continue as a family.
- Plan a viewing party: As a family, gather together to go back through pictures taken throughout the year. This is particularly fun to see what pictures everyone has taken and what events were captured.
- Journal: Ask a few reflective questions like “What was your favorite memory from this year?”, “What was your greatest challenge from this year?”, “What is one lesson you learned from this year.”
Set goals for the new year
Now that our children have expressed gratitude through their thank you notes and actively reflected on the year; it’s time to set goals for the New Year. At the beginning of every year, millions of people will set goals they will never achieve mainly due to poor goal setting. Sure most of these people have good intentions, but good intentions don’t make up for poor goal setting. Children need help in making a goal and creating a plan to make that goal a reality. Teaching our children to set goals early holds them responsible for their behaviors and actions, encourages them to develop perseverance and grit, while teaching them a lifelong skill.
A few steps to consider when helping your child create goals:
• Let your child choose his/her goal: As a mom, I know the goals I would like my fellas to work on, but that doesn’t help them. Instead, I ask questions to guide them to work on the goals that matter to them. Questions like: What would you like to accomplish this year?; What is an area you would like to improve?; What is one thing you would like to be able to do by the end of the year?
• Talk about why this goal matters: Why does this goal matter to your kid? Will it help others?
• Discuss the how: Break down the smaller steps needed to accomplish this goal
• Set a reward: How will you celebrate when you achieve the goal. Teaching children how to celebrate their success is important.
Once you have worked on your goals as a family, put the goals where they can be seen. Spend time each month reviewing the goals. Discuss any progress, challenges, and accomplishment toward the goal.
Our family looks forward to a new year, and we love creating new traditions. How do you and your family prepare for a new year? Drop a comment below and let me hear about it.
Happy New Year,