So the end of our calendar year is upon us again as we say goodbye to 2015 and hello to 2016. We have made another orbit around the sun and many cultures find this time of the year to be a time to reflect on the past, plan for the future and generally hope for more prosperity. It is also a great time to talk with and listen to your children about their thoughts about their year and what they hope for in the coming year.
Of course starting a meaningful conversation beyond ‘what do you want for dinner’, ‘do you have any homework…is it done?’ and/or ‘did you pick-up your toys?’ with a child or teen can seem a harrowing task. Below you will find a few conversation starters you might try the next couple of days. Remember you might be surprised by the response but you should try not to be negative nor judgemental. Should that surprise (which can actually be good) happen, a positive way to understand the response better is to ask ‘can you tell me more about that?’ or ‘what makes that important to you?’. Digging a bit deeper just might bring a smile to your face and warmth to you heart.
New Years Conversation Starters
- What word describes the last year for you?
- What word do you think will describe the next year?
- What is your educational goal for this year?
- What are you most proud of in the past year?
- If you had the power to change something in the past year what would it be? Why?
- What was the best advice you had last year?
- What you do in the new year that will help make the world a better place to live?
- Did anything inspire you last year?
- What was your favorite memory of last year?
- What is one thing you really want to do in the coming year?
For a nice set of 220 free questions you can print on index cards visit the Balancing Beauty and Bedlam website.
Happy New Year!
The season is upon us. Before you think I am talking about the holidays, think again. I am talking about cold and flu season. I am talking about the various “’plagues,” that are commonplace in many schools. There are times when you wish for a bubble for you and your family. There are times when you can’t get past it.
Fortunately, there are things we can do to shore ourselves up for the cold, flu, and “plague season.” There are the tried and true tips: frequent hand washing, covering your face and mouth when you sneeze and cough, avoiding direct contact with someone who is sick, avoiding touching your face or eyes -as to avoid transmitting germs and sickness, eating for health-whole foods -as opposed to processed food and junk food, which decrease our bodies’ immune system, lots of rest, exercise, stress management, etc. The medical community advocates for flu shots being the number one preventative measure a person can take. Others like Dr Mark Hyman would disagree. Vitamin C, big kettles of chicken soup, garlic, and a whole host of other more natural remedies are lauded by more holistic folk. Every family is different in their approach. Our favorites are airing out the house, frequent hand washing, whole foods, and pre and probiotics. What are yours?
Somewhere between Pinterest idyllic and reality, there is what we hope to establish in our home during the holidays. For many, it is a time of increased togetherness. The children are off from school and perhaps you are off from work for an extended period of time. Perhaps you are a stay at home parent and you are always “off.” Or perhaps, no such luck, you have to work increased hours over the holidays because of the kind of work you do. Regardless of your exact situation, I am sure that some of what you are hoping for during the holidays is a sense of familial togetherness, fun, new memories; and meaningfulness. –More on that in a moment.
Rest assured, even the plans and holiday idylls that do not go as planned can be of lasting memory. We still talk of the “Pink Eye Christmas” when we recall memories of Christmas past. Our daughters had an awesome case of conjunctivitis, that was worsened by an allergic reaction our youngest girl had to eye drops. She had a distinct resemblance to Rocky Balboa after a hard fight, that Christmas! We still laugh at the Christmas mouse, from growing up. As teenagers, my siblings and I had a mouse run across the floor during our Christmas meal. A fond new memory is from a few years back when our girls received a package of pacifiers or “bobos” from Santa and the Bobo Fairy. She had come about a year prior, when our daughter gave up her bobo. This is how they found out their mother was expecting their little brother.
Somewhere between your holiday idylls and the bickering that arises when all the children are home together for an extended period of time; the pulls and demands of time, money, and limited energy reserves; and the unexpected that is all but a guarantee in life, is a chance for some great times together. The folks at the great website “Parent map” offer 15 great ideas for making the most of your time together during the holidays. From game nights by the Christmas tree and volunteering as a family to great craft ideas and journaling suggestions for recording the year’s highlights, there are some fantastic suggestions here. Wishing you togetherness, laughter, fun, new found memories, and meaning this holiday season! Happy Holidays!