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Hopes and Dreams for a New Year!

The beginning of a new year is often a time of reflection on the year that just ended and time to set goals and intentions for the year ahead. This is an empowering practice that we can involve our children in. If we start reflection and goal setting with our children when they are young, it will become a habit that they can carry with them into their adult lives .

step one - reflection!

“Without reflection, we go blindly on our way; creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything.”
-Margaret J. Wheatley

Modeling reflection for children and teaching them this powerful tool will help them realize how much they have grown over the past year. It also gets them thinking about not only their accomplishments, but areas where they would like to see more growth in themselves. Failure is a very important part of growth and success. Reflecting on what went wrong, ideas on what your new goals are because of it, and brainstorming new ways of accomplishing them are the building blocks of a growth mindset and creativity.

This is an amazing opportunity to connect deeply with your children, to provide time to open up and give them space for more substantial responses. We all know the conversations:

“how was your day?!”


“What did you do today?”


Starting a reflection ritual will help children learn to take notice of their feelings and help them remember more details about their days.

Here are some questions that you can discuss with children to build these skills:

  • What new things did you learn last year?

  • What can you do now that you couldn’t do a year ago?

  • What are you most proud of?

  • Is there anything that you didn’t get to do that you’d like to think about doing this year?

  • What new friends did you make last year and what do you love about them?

  • What was your biggest challenge last year and how did you overcome it?

step two - dreaming and goal setting!

After reflecting on the past year, it is time to start setting goals and intentions for the new year ahead. Some of the ideas can be pulled directly from the reflections when children talked about the things that they didn’t get to do, or their biggest disappointments. This is the time to spend dreaming, laughing, and creating your “perfect year”. Don’t underestimate the time put aside for dreaming. It strengthens children’s imaginations, and shows them anything they can think can eventually come true with a plan!

The most productive way to set up your ritual is to start with your intentions. These big dreams. Then break them down into smaller goals. These goals should have timelines, or ways to track their progress. You can break each goal into smaller action steps for children and help them take action each day, or use their goals as a guide to remind them of the path they want to be taking.

Setting Individual Goals:

Model setting goals for children and have them set their own goals. When talking to children about their goals, brainstorm ideas of how they make those goals become a reality. Break them down into small achievable steps. Ask them what it will feel like when they have accomplished their goal. To keep your children on track and not feeling overwhelmed, celebrating all of the small successes along the way makes achieving your big dreams exciting, fun, and empowering!

Setting Family goals and intentions for the year:

This is an exciting activity that everyone can get involved in. Camaraderie and respect are built through teamwork and having all family members feel heard and supported. Here are some ideas of questions you can ask when setting your goals:

  • What would you like to do more of as a family?

  • What areas can we work together on?

  • What steps does everyone need to do to make them happen?

  • What is your big family dream for this year?

  • Is it a place you would like to visit?

  • How can everyone support each other in reaching family and individual goals?

“It always seems impossible until it is done.”
-Nelson Mandela

Planning your new year, dreaming about your big successes, and setting goals is both exciting and overwhelming. Big dreams can seem impossible and become the reason most of us don’t get started taking action. Learning to turn dreams into small manageable goals empowers children to be independent, builds their self-confidence, and shows them their dreams are achievable when they take action. Now what’s left is to celebrate your success!


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