While we are wrapping gifts and making plans to gather with family and friends, the final days of 2014 are flying off the calendar.

I have to admit I am such a sucker for a Year In Review. I love all the lists and the look-backs, the nostalgic recounting of the highs and the lows of the year gone by. I know the days following the actual December holidays can be a dreary time for some, but for me, that last week of December just crackles with hope as I consider all the possibilities of the year ahead.

It’s during that brief lull in activity that I love nothing more than to grab a journal and sketch out all of my thoughts and dreams for the new year. It occurred to me today that my older children, now nine and seven, are at an age where I can invite them in on my end-of-year dreaming and year-to-come scheming and encourage them to join me in a wonderfully intentional plan for the new year.

Photo by r. nial bradshaw

Questions to reflect on 2014

My children will be out for nearly three full weeks for winter break, so I know we will have lots of downtime to fill. I’m planning to create some journal pages for them to reflect on the year:

What was the happiest part of 2014?

What was the saddest part of this past year?

What was one really hard thing you did?

What are you the most proud of accomplishing in 2014?

How do you think you have changed in the past year?

What have you been hanging on to that you are ready to get rid of?

Are you sad to see 2014 go? Or are you ready for the new year to be here?

Once we’ve spent some time reflecting on their perspectives on 2014, we’ll be ready to start thinking about how to be intentional in the new year!

Preparing children for an intentional approach to 2015

The phrase “living with intention” is definitely adult-speak, but we can translate those lofty ideals into concrete concepts for our kids. We can talk about the tradition of writing New Year’s Resolutions or choosing One Word to focus on for a year. And again, questions and answers might be the easiest way to get the whole family’s brains thinking about the new year:

What is one dream you hope comes true in 2015?

What character quality could you work on next year?

What is one new skill you want to learn?

What excites you about 2015? What makes you feel scared?

How do you think your life will be different one year from today? How will it be the same?

Once we’ve nailed down some specific direction for the new year, I’m going to help my girls construct vision boards that they can hang in their room. I like the idea of having a visual reminder to stay on track with dreams and goals.

Vision boards aren’t the only way to do this, of course. Some kids might prefer a journal dedicated to their plans for the year. Other kids might like to make a video, one that they could re-watch at the beginning of each month in which they remind themselves of what they are hoping to get from this year. Truly, the possibilities are endless when it comes to kids and their unique ways of moving in the world.

All too often, those final days of winter break are spent just surviving. The thrill of the holidays has passed and sometimes it feels like all we are left with is squabbling and boredom. This year, I hope my kids and I thrive throughout the break from school and routine, squeezing every last drop from the wintry days by putting some roots under our dreams for the wide-open wonder of the year ahead.