It's easy to focus on the fun and parties and celebrations of New Year's with the kids. But the end of one year and the start of a new one is also a good time for reflection -- even for the youngest kids.
Here are some tips on helping your kids make a year in review.
Get out your calendar: It can be hard to remember what you did last week, let alone what you did throughout a whole year! Page through your calendar with your kids, remembering and reminiscing about all the events, big and little (whatever you felt was momentous enough to add to your calendar!) that happened.
Make a highlights list: What did you love about your year together? Did you get a new pet? Make some new family friends? Go somewhere cool on vacation? Have your kids come up with their top five.
Don't forget the small stuff: It might be a bit harder to remember small things that happened from such a vast time period, but make the effort. It's an important lesson for the kids (and ourselves) that good memories don't just come from big, important events. Some of the most valuable lessons and most fun times we have are from just chatting around the dinner table, sharing the morning drive to school, or hanging out at the playground.
Get a little bit serious: Of course we don't want to dwell on the not-as-pleasant memories we have from years past, but we shouldn't forget them either -- especially the things that happened that we learned from. Look for silver linings. If your child lost a friendship last year, what did she learn? Did she find a new, even better friend? Did she discover a new interest that she hadn't had time for when she was spending all her time with the former friend?
Apply the year's lessons: Once you've had time to reflect for awhile, think of how you can carry over your findings to the coming year. What highlights do you want to make sure you get to experience again? What steps can you take to make sure other things don't happen this year? With a little thought, a little conversation and a little planning, you'll be all set to greet the new year!