Reflection and Resolution: Annual Time Capsules for Kids!

By Brittany Stewart

by Danielle Dolin

The end of the year evokes nostalgia as the captivating charm of the Holidays slows to the finale of New Year’s Eve. The launch of the New Year signifies a fresh start for us all. Many adults set resolutions for the incoming year, and although these pledges seem achievable, often, we fall short. Making goals seems effortless; persevering is the challenge.

As adults, resolutions and pledges for the upcoming year generate a tenacity that drives us to tackle the incoming year with a renewed and energetic approach. For children, however, the momentum to roll up their sleeves and set goals for the New Year requires a bit of reflection and can seem tricky.

Teaching children to reflect and set goals is an important lesson that needs to be instilled from a young age. Having something to focus on and work towards helps everyone become productive human beings. It is our responsibility to teach these skills to children because they won’t learn them any other way. Parents are supposed to lead by example.

Annual Time Capsules are outstanding in this capacity. They are a fun reflection tool that can also be used to help youngsters set goals for the upcoming year!

So, how do you make this Annual Time Capsule, and how does it work?

There are three distinct elements to an Annual Time Capsule: a container, the included treasures, and a list of achievable goals. The tradition is simple, starting with sealing the treasures and aspirations on New Year’s Eve or Day, then finding a place to set them aside, and finally opening them a year later.

The Container: This can be a simple envelope or a hand-painted treasure box. If on a budget, the envelope route is definitely less expensive and comes with many do-overs if needed. The treasure box, on the other hand, will take more time and money but comes with a revered element. However you choose, make sure the child’s name is on the container, and once sealed, it is not to be opened for a fiscal year!

The Treasures: This is where creativity sets in! Treasures can be handwritten notes to oneself or perhaps money. The idea is to encapsulate something from this year that will aid in reflection. Goals can only be set if reflection occurs. Ideas include a child’s photo, a family picture, trinkets, a traced handprint/footprint, handmade jewelry, a gift card, or a questionnaire. The questionnaire is the most purposeful and desired as it compels reflection. Write down the questions on a whiteboard or print them for the child to answer. If they are not equipped to write, this is something you can ask and complete for them. Some great prompts for reflection include:

  • What do you want to be when you grow up?
  • What is your favorite memory from this year?
  • Is there something you hope changes before you open this time capsule?
  • Who are your closest friends?
  • What is your favorite movie, food, subject, activity, season, animal?

The List of Achievable Goals: The key word here is achievable. If your little one wants to fly to the moon, include it! But perhaps in their questionnaire. Help them navigate toward more reachable annual goals. Are their goals realistic and within their skill level? Do they force them to grow as they strive to achieve desired results? Help them answer questions like: What goals do you have for yourself for the next year? Or, What do you want to achieve in a year? Have them write them down or do it for them and seal them up!

Finally, when the year comes to a close, the BIG reveal is something your child will look forward to all year! The benefits of Annual Time Capsules are plentiful. Intention, hope, responsibility, even problem-solving are just the tip of the iceberg. Making resolutions means reflecting on meeting goals and evaluating roadblocks. If your children met their goals, what got them there? If they did not, what stood in their way? Helping your children reflect is an invaluable skill that will aid in perseverance long term, building self-esteem along the way! Plus, it is always sentimental to see how much your youngster grew in one year. Annual Time Capsules are an ideal practice in starting the new year off with momentum and strength. You never know; it could become a family tradition as well!

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