This year, as an alternative to making resolutions, try helping your child find “One Little Word” to focus on this year. One Little Word is a simple opportunity to learn how to set intentions for the year to come. Choosing a word like “focus” or “persistent” is less intimidating than creating a long list of resolutions that children may find difficult to understand or remember.
Following this simple 1-2-3 process for choosing One Little Word and making it stick all year long is a great way to teach your children the value of goal-setting.
1. Ask Questions
Asking your child a few simple questions can generate an interesting conversation. Here are some questions to get you started in identifying One Little Word:
- What do you want to work hard for?
- What quality do you admire in others?
- What is a strength you want to grow?
- What is a challenge you want to work on?
- What do you wish for?
After you brainstorm words together, help your child search a dictionary, thesaurus, or the Internet for synonyms. It may also help to do an Internet search for adjectives and verbs you may not have brainstormed.
2. Narrow it Down
Now that you have several words that strike a chord in your child’s heart or gut, you’ve got to narrow it down. Using index cards, write the following categories on each of them:
Then, together with your child, write down how each of the words affect or can help improve each of these areas. For example, if your child’s word is “persistence,” she’ll write sentences on each index card about how persistence can help her focus on each of the categories. She might write sentences like:
“I will be persistent at keeping my room tidy.”
“If I have trouble making friends this year, I will keep trying until I find a friendship that sticks.”
It will soon become obvious which word is right for your child.
3. Make Your One Little Word Stick
Discovering your One Little Word together will be exciting. The work you both have put into identifying a word that feels just right for guiding the new year will pay off if you come back to it throughout the coming year.
Try some of these great ways to make your One Little Word stick.
Decorate A Notebook With Your One Little Word
First, have your child decorate a notebook with stickers and markers to make it their own. Next, have your child write about the chosen One Little Word and what it means to them. Getting it down on paper can help keep it in focus more clearly.
Make Or buy An Item With The One Little Word On It
Consider buying a blank wooden sign and some paints so your child can paint the One Little Word on it. Be sure to cover the paint with glue or shellac to protect the paint. You can also find lots of customizable items on Etsy.
Use The One Little Word When Making Decisions
When your child wants to sign up for art classes or a hockey team, ask if it coincides with their One Little Word. For example, if your child chose “create” for his One Little Word, you might ask if a class he wants to take will help him create. This can really help keep the valuable One Little Word in focus.
Kimberley Moran is the mom of two children and the step-mom to two young adults. She is a senior digital editor at WeAreTeachers.com where she helps teachers improve the lives of kids everywhere. She was a teacher for 15 years, working to make sure children were both seen and heard. She wrote the book, Hacking Parenthood: Ten Mantras You Can Use Daily to Reduce the Stress of Parenting, to help all parents simplify their lives and love raising children. She lives in Maine with her family.