We all have things in our lives we want to be able to do someday. Places to go. Sights to see. Crazy adventures to go on. The only problem is that life gets in the way and we don't get the chance to do all those things we want to do. That's the beauty of a bucket list. We're much more likely to get things done if they're on a to-do list.
Our kids are no different, they have goals too! Here's a list of things to keep in mind if you want to make a bucket list with your kids.
1. Think short
When you make a to-do list with your kids, they expect those things to get done. Kids are great that way. The key to getting all the things on a to-do list done is to not have too many things. When your kids give you their ideas for what they've always wanted to do, encourage them to be realistic and think in small chunks. This works even better if you add a time limit. Have them think up the top three things they want to do over their school vacation, for example.
2. Think fun
Encourage your kids to think of a few super fun things they've always wanted to do, and, as long as they're reasonable, put some of those crazy fun things on the list. Your kids will think you're a pretty amazing parent if you actually commit to allowing them to do something like squeeze an entire bottle of shampoo into the wading pool (That's a real bucket list item for my daughter!)
3. Think charitable
A bucket list is a great opportunity to encourage compassion in your kids. In addition to a few fun things, talk to them about causes that are important to them. If they're animal lovers, maybe they'd like to spend some time making toys for service animals for the Wisconsin Humane Society. It's also easy for children to relate to other children; you could encourage them to collect soda can pop tabs to raise money for Ronald McDonald House.
4. Think of the future
What does your child want to be when he grows up? What talents or skills would he like to practice? Add an item or two to the bucket list with a thought toward future goals. Your budding author could take part in a writing contest such as the Milwaukee PBS KIDS Young Writers Contest. Your future fashion designer could design her own clothing line through a Discovery World camp.
5. Think about overcoming fears
Any good bucket list should include an item or two that you would never do if you didn't have the motivation of the list itself. Encourage your child to think of something he has a little bit of a fear of (nothing major -- you want to help your child accomplish something, not increase anxiety). Is your son a little bit afraid of heights? Maybe a trek up the observation tower at Lapham Peak is a good bucket list item. Does your daughter have a fear of public speaking? How about signing her up for some acting classes at First Stage?
Keep these five thoughts in mind, write a wonderful bucket list and start checking off those items!