The new year is a great time to pause and reflect on the year that has passed. Most of us would probably agree that 2020 was a difficult year, with its fair share of challenges!
Although it might not seem as though, children need time to reflect and process in the same way that adults do. It’s still really important to encourage our kids to think through the past year and how they feel about it.
Most of us have had to put some aspect of our lives on hold in 2020. Similarly, kids are likely to have missed out on school time, school friends, and lots of other everyday things that make them happy. We know that we’re so proud of all the little ones who have grown ups working at toucanBox, their resilience and optimism has been so wonderful to see (even if they do like to interrupt zoom meetings from time to time)!
Whilst encouraging your child to reflect on the year that has passed it’s also a good idea to get their thoughts on the year ahead. There’s plenty to look forward to and be excited about. Drawing up new year’s resolutions helps kids to feel optimistic for the future as well as mindful of their past experiences.
A wishing tree is the perfect craft for prompting discussion on new year’s resolutions. Wishing trees help kids to visualise their goals and make their ideas more tangible.
It can be quite tricky to teach the concept of resolutions, but turning them into wishes suddenly make them a bit more fun (and child-friendly). And making the wishes visual like with our wishing tree will help you literally keep an eye on them and remind you of the changes you want to make.
So what is a wishing tree?
A wishing tree is a collection of branches that you can hang your wishes for the year on. Write down what you hope to accomplish on the wishing star templates and decorate your tree with them.
On a crisp morning between Christmas and New Year’s Day you can take a family walk, pick up some sticks and thin branches, and then retreat back to your cosy home to write out your wishes and display them.
Displaying your wishing tree can be a friendly, visual reminder to kids of the things that they wished for and encourages them to put in the work they need to achieve that wish.
1 Time to gather the branches for your wishing tree! Wrap up warm and go on a family walk to find 5-10 small branches or twigs from the floor.
2 Place the branches like a bouquet in your empty jam jar or vase to make the tree.
3 Print out the wishing tree template or draw your own stars on a piece of paper or card. Use the star shapes to write down your wishes for the year ahead. Where would you like to go? What would you like to learn to do?
4 Use colouring materials to decorate your stars and carefully cut them out.
5 Thread a piece of string through each star. You may need to use a needle to piece the star, or alternatively you could punch a hole and thread the string by hand. Tie a loop and hang your wish onto one of the branches of your tree.
See how many of your wishes you can make come true in 2018!
All this reflecting and forecasting might seem a bit serious for little ones! It’s important to remember that a resolution should be enjoyable and achievable. Talking to your kids about what they can do in the new year helps them to understand setting realistic and achievable goals, as well as highlighting the sense of accomplishment when a goal is achieved.
Seeing in a new year should encourage positive new changes, but it’s very easy to revert to old habits. When we come up with resolutions they shouldn’t just be things we think we should do, but things we want to. That way those resolutions can be changes that we can really stick to.
Here are some ideas for children’s new year’s resolutions to help kickstart the conversation…
We have plenty! Download our New Year’s Eve Firework Colouring Sheet for an easy but enjoyable colouring activity, or download our free Star Chart to encourage kids to smash their targets for an end of the week treat!
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