Reflection + Resolution: Turning a Tough Year into Fun Family Activity
Updated: Dec 25, 2020
In any typical year, we might dust off our New Year’s resolution list from last January. We’d laugh at how many resolutions we did not see through. We’d cheer for the ones we managed to keep. This, however, was not a “typical” year. Right now, as this year winds down, we -- ourselves and our kids -- wish to reflect on productive thoughts about the past year to then look forward at the new year.
2020 has been quite the year. No need to put more words to it. There has been and will continue to be plenty of commentary about this year, which will go down in history as “unprecedented” (that might be the year’s most frequently used word). But we’ll leave that to pundits.
For us, as everyday people, we want to reflect meaningfully and introspectively. We think about what was, what continues, and what lights exist at the end of the COVID tunnel. We’re also thinking about specific moments in which we carried ourselves better than expected, where we could have carried ourselves better than we did, and what we’ve learned to help us “keep calm and carry on” for the next time we face an unprecedented experience.
And then as parents, we’re thinking about, for instance, “where we were” (physically and mentally) during early spring, when we began to hear murmurs of some weird virus (for the record, we were not hoarding toilet paper :P) and what that might mean for our kids. And then “where we were” during the initial pandemic wave and lockdowns, followed by tragic race relations and riots, into a touch-and-go back-to-school experience, onto Presidential and Congressional election season, and, of course, everyday life throughout it all (like, you know, just trying to make sure your kids are happy, healthy, and learning).
After we look back and reflect on this recent history, we can then with clear eyes (and not just clear, but bright-eyed and hopeful) turn forward-looking. We look forward to growth for ourselves and family in the future. . . starting with 2021! Here we come!!!
Primerrily has a fun and simple way to turn this “2020 reflection + 2021 resolution” exercise into an age-appropriate, developmental activity! We love reminding our kids that mental “resets” and “refreshes” can happen daily, hourly, or truly any time through forgiveness (of others and of self), inner strength, and perspective. So the New Year holiday is an especially celebratory time to practice resetting and refreshing our behaviors, outlooks, and goals. Sounds like a perfect reason to celebrate!
Ask your kids to join you in 2020 memories and 2021 hopes with these kid-friendly questions and prompts:
What are you most proud of this year?
Let’s categorize some memories from the year: favorite, most interesting, most confusing, most funny, most bummed, most proud, etc.
What are some things you wish could have been different about this year?
What are some things you wish will happen again next year?
What are some ways you wish you could have acted differently (e.g. toward a sibling)?
What are some things you wish you could have done/seen more of this year, and hope to next year?
Who are some people outside our immediate family that you are grateful for from this year (e.g. teacher, a “germ-family” friend, a FaceTiming cousin)? How did they help you?
Write down your questions and their answers (also let them know your own kid-friendly answers, and check if they have other questions they want to ask of you!) on a big Post-It Table Top Easel Pad with Bic assorted color-coded markers (btw, both Post-It and Bic support Made in USA!). These “props” will grab your kids’ attention and engage their self-awareness as you document what will surely be a meaningful discussion. P.S. - For A/V time capsule material, consider recording on your smartphone to archive their hilarious and unexpectedly introspective thoughts.
Whatever may come of your kids' deep thoughts and adorable scribbles, in this final week of the year may you find yourselves taking in these moments -- while being both reflective and forward-looking -- with your family. Wishing you and yours a fulfilling reflection and resolution-setting celebration. Happy New Year!