Maybe it’s just another date on the calendar. New Year’s Day.

I don’t care how arbitrary, I love a specific point in time to look back in wonder and look forward with anticipation! Isn’t anticipation one of the best parts of any journey? I don’t think a preschooler is too young to learn the simple pleasure of reflection.

The ability to reflect is, after all, a key to learning. I want our toddler to have special moments to treasure and anticipate!

The concept of New Year’s goals can be broken down to simple terms for small ones. What I call Stars and Wishes (a concept I used in my classroom for reflecting on final drafts).

Look back and recognize Star moments. The best and brightest!

Then look forward and anticipate all you Wish the New Year to hold! The hopes and dreams!

Here’s a Stars and Wishes for a Happy New Year printable! And a few tips for reflection with youngsters (click the image to download):

  • Look through photos or videos that highlight the past year to bring back memories for your child.
  • Specifically name key events for your child: “Remember when you…” Or “You had so much fun at the…”
  • Talk about “firsts,” perhaps the first time they went to the zoo, learned to spell their name, or took swimming lessons.
  • Ask questions about the photos and videos, and you will be amazed at the small details that stuck in their minds! Our son vividly remembers the sharks at the Aquarium.
  • Jot down important facts perhaps only you remember such as their favorite song, book, person, or outfit.

After refreshing their memories, ask about their favorite moment, place, event. Write these down as Stars!

Then, set goals or Wishes for the next year with your child. These will likely be spinoffs of the Stars.

  • Ask what they would like to do again, places to revisit, or people they want to spend time with.
  • Suggest ways they will excel in the New Year: “I bet next year you’ll be using the kick board at swim lessons all by yourself!” Or “You already can spell your name, and I bet this year you’ll learn to write the letters too!”
  • If your child is old enough, try folding a booklet with jumbo construction paper. Glue the Stars and Wishes Sheet inside and have kids draw a picture that represents each list. For younger kids, perhaps glue in a photo from the past year. Now you have a small keepsake to look at when 2013 comes to a close!

Of course, Stars and Wishes aren’t heavy duty adult-sized resolutions, and they aren’t intended to be. Just capturing life’s finest moments on paper and planning for more fantastic adventures with your children!

How do you celebrate the New Year with your children? Have your celebrations changed as your kids have grown?

This is a partnered post with Melissa & Doug. All opinions are 100% my own.

Leave a Comment

  • Mallery Schuplin January 3, 2013, 9:52 am

    I think a lot of adults would benefit from the simplicity of this printable. We tend to overcomplicate everything and get upset when we fail.

    Reply
  • Stefani January 2, 2013, 9:55 am

    What a really great idea. This is something that my youngest two would get a kick out of.

    Reply
  • Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell December 31, 2012, 7:13 pm

    I love the idea of a recap with the kids! I wouldn’t have thought of that! We’ve done spa nights on New Year’s Eve, and we’ve made party hats and then of course sparkling grape juice and snacks while watching the ball drop.

    Reply
  • Ashley - Embracing Beauty December 31, 2012, 4:16 pm

    That is absolutely adorable!!! This is a great conversation started and will make for a cute memory. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  • Tesa @ 2 Wired 2 Tired December 31, 2012, 9:28 am

    This is a great idea. This was the first year I talked about resolutions with my 7 & 5 year old. It was an interesting conversation and very cute. I think this will help when we talk about goal setting again.

    Reply
  • Lynsey @MoscatoMom December 31, 2012, 9:02 am

    This is FANTASTIC! My daughters are 6 and 13, and I still think they would enjoy this! I think this is EXACTLY what we are going to do tonight! How fun!

    Reply