It struck me this week that during the week of Christmas and New Year’s, we spend a lot of time thinking about time. Let me explain. In the days surrounding Christmas we spend a lot of time in the past. We focus on holiday traditions, eat favorite foods, hang handmade ornaments and tell stories of our favorite Christmas memories. In the days following Christmas we take a couple days to reflect on the year, on all that has happened, on how much bigger the kids are, on how things have changed and possibly how things have stayed the same. Then we get to New Year’s Eve and we start thinking about the future and all the hope and opportunity the new year is going to bring. We think about things that we would like to change or enhance or add to our lives. It seems to me that we all do this little dance from past to future every year without really giving it much thought. With all this focus on what did happen and what’s about to happen, it’s easy to see how what is happening right now is overlooked.
Over the years, I’ve tried many different things with my kids related to goals, chores and the like. These ideas have lasted for a little while, but then eventually fall by the wayside as life gets busier and the effectiveness wears off. This year, now that they are older (8 and 12), I’m going to try something different. Starting on the first, we are going to have a family journal time at the end of every day. I have new journals for each member of the family that will be used only this activity. I have multi-colored pens to pick from so it seems less like homework and more like an art project. To get started, I pre-selected questions based on each child and what I think will benefit them the most.
My son, who is 8, will answer questions about himself:
What is one thing you did well today?
What is one thing where you could have tried harder?
What is one thing you need help with?
My daughter, who is 12, will answer questions around social dynamics:
How were you a good friend today?
What did one of your friends do today that showed they are a good friend to you?
Name one thing that felt really good today and why? (Or didn’t feel good and why?)
My husband and I will answer questions around reflecting on our day:
What did I do today that brought out the best in me?
What did I do today that made me happy?
This will definitely be a work in progress. I would like to stick with these questions for thirty days before mixing them up, but we’ll see how it goes. We might change things up and make some days theme days, like on Sunday answering questions about what we are grateful for or what things do we want to accomplish this week. Or maybe the kids will come up with their own ideas for questions to answer. I know that some days are going to be really hard to motivate them to do this after long days at school, practice, etc. but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. (Slowing down on busy days might be the most important days to do this kind of exercise.) I’m excited to try it and see what happens. If this sounds like something your family could benefit from, then join us! I will be checking in on the Facebook Moms page and will post a mid-month update in the blog on our progress. If you have other activities you are trying with your kids, please share them in the comments below, we want to hear what’s working for you.
Cheers to a happy, healthy and joyous New Year!
I’ve updated my Books I Love page with some of my favorites from 2016, check it out by clicking this link If you have a favorite parenting book that didn’t make the list, I’d love to hear from you. Send me a Facebook message or email with the details!
I started writing this blog because I wanted to have deeper conversations beyond "How are you?", "Busy", with other parents. Over the years I've shared personal stories, articles, authors and topics to facilitate conversations with parents about the joys and the challenges of parenting.