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Embracing the New Year With Young Children

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Happy New Year’s from the Fun Van team! We are so excited to start another year with all of our wonderful families. Now that the holidays are over and life is probably back to some sort of normal routine, we wanted to give our parents a couple of tips to help kick off a fantastic new year. Below are 3 ideas to help you harness the excitement of a new year.

Young children are still learning the concept of time, so the term “New Year” may not mean much to them, however, the beginning of the year is an excellent time to put in place new systems and strategies to ensure success for the entire year.

Practice Gratitude- One of our favorite traditions in my family is having a gratitude jar. Throughout the year we write down things that we are thankful for and place them in a jar along with the date. This could be something as big as getting a promotion, to something as little as getting to sleep in a little later. On New Year’s Eve we dump out the entire jar and take turns reading through all of the awesome things that have happened during the year. It’s so much fun to read through and remember all of the good things that happened to us. For younger children, consider letting them draw a picture of what they are thankful for and then write their thoughts under the picture.

Set Goals- As you know, setting resolutions is a major part of preparing for the New Year for most people. Although you may have your own feelings about the overall effectiveness of resolutions, this is the perfect time to sit down with your children and talk about what a resolution is, and why we set them. You can talk about goals, if the concept of a resolution seems too big for your child to understand. Then have some fun letting your child set their own goals for the year. Mrs. Ashley shared that her daughter’s goals from last year were to learn how to ride a bike and pump on the swings. By setting goals with your child you are getting an insight into what skills are important to them, as well as how to help motivate them to accomplish their goals. Goal setting is an essential part of being a responsible adult, and it’s never too early to give your child opportunities to practice this skill. Plan out a reward for your child once they hit their goal and a way to keep track of their progress. Make sure they set goals that are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time- Based). Learning how to drive a car at 5 is not a SMART goal (not attainable or relevant), but learning how to ride a bike before their 6th birthday could be a better goal.

Create a Time Capsule- The beginning of a new decade is the prime time to create a time capsule. Grab an old recycled metal can or even a plastic box with a lid and ask your children to collect a couple of items that they think people years from now would find interesting. It’s really fun to see your children’s ideas of what makes an item meaningful. Write a note to the lucky person who will find your time capsule and include things like what it is like to be a child in the year 2020. Talk about what your children like to do, eat, wear, anything goes. You can even enclose a few photos (in a sealed plastic bag to protect them). Then find a good place to hid or bury your time capsule. If you choose to use somewhere other than your personal property make sure you obtain permission to leave or bury something there. One of my friends chose to leave their family’s time capsule at the vacation home they visit every year. Then make a note of where the time capsule is and set an alarm on your phone to retrieve it at the designated time. You can choose any given amount of time. I suggest two or more years for the nostalgia.

I love the hope and anticipation a new year brings and getting to share that with children is even better. Do you and your family have any traditions or activities that your do to kick off the new year? Share your comments below!