Kids often struggle to wrap their minds around the concept of the New Year. Children’s brains are still developing the characteristics of self-reflection and long-term goals that resolutions require, and younger kids might still be working out the idea of time itself. But offering a fresh start for the New Year can be a great way to reinforce a child's self-esteem. And finding creative ways for kids to access that part of themselves can offer parents an enhanced sense of positivity. Here’s a collection of ideas to try.
Make a resolution chain
Supplies to make a resolution chain (cutting board, construction paper, markers, stapler)
This project might be a memory from my own school days, but it’s so easy, I’ve never had to look it up again. Simply gather some construction paper of any and all colors, and cut them into long strips. On one strip, write a resolution (for young kids, it might help to phrase it as “wishes” for the New Year). Help shape a child’s resolutions or wishes so it's attainable or encourages new habits (ie. “Keep my room organized” could become “I’ll clean my room a little bit every day”) to save them from the feeling of failure that comes around February 1st. Bend the strip into a circular shape and staple the short ends together. Write a different resolution on a second strip and feed it through the first strip’s opening before stapling the second strip into a circular shape. The third strip feeds through the second's circle, so as you add more strips, you’ll see the chain begin to grow. Hang the finished chain in your children’s room where they can see it daily and be reminded of their goals for the New Year.
Do a candle ritual
A finished resolution chain
Aromatherapy and candles has to be the best combination for any ritual, so this next activity is adapted from the last project in this article
. Grab a bunch of tea light or votive candles with holders, as well as essential oils in different flavors. Each essential oil contains certain properties that can help improve certain moods. Talk about the attributes associated with the different scents (ie. lavendar for balance or pine for confidence) using this handy reference guide
, then invite kids to think about qualities they might like to increase in the New Year. Light the candle and invite kids to place a few drops of their chosen scent around the melted wax beneath the candle’s wick (using different candles for different aromas as sometimes scents don't mix). Try Om’s essential oils from Savor Spa
, just $14-28 for an ounce. They’re organic and made in New York.
The season of giving is such a beautiful thing... except if you have a lack of storage space. You can minimize the clutter (and increase your children’s appreciation for what they have) by editing the toy collection before or after each round of present-giving. Encourage kids to pass along their gently used toys (the ones they’ve outgrown or just don’t need anymore) by reminding them that there are other kids around who will love and appreciate them. It can be hard to find a place that will redistribute old toys due to safety concerns, but The Thrift Store at the Tibetan Center
accepts them, or check out this local resource list
Make it a Retro Year-in-Review
If you use your phone as the family camera, making snapshots of the kids at every instance of their delightfulness throughout the year, there’s an app that will help you sort through it all. Printic
is accessible through iPhone or Android with lots of easy-to-make keepsake options like calendars and photo books. The easiest one, though, is the photo box - 50 prints with white borders (which look like your dad’s old polaroids) in a trademark orange box for just $26 with free international shipping.
Make a Positive Jar
There was a graphic, now lost in the Facebook scroll, that offered a simple directive: set an empty jar in a common area of your house and, as wonderful things happen throughout the year, write them down on a piece of paper, fold them up, and put them inside the jar. On the first day of the next year, open the jar and read them for a literal positive note to start off the New Year.