Many families enjoy partaking in traditions at this time of the year, especially around the holidays. However, January is also an ideal time to start some new family traditions. Try these six family New Year tradition ideas to help your child build a strong feeling of belonging, set goals, and learn more about their world.
1) Interview your child
As adults, we’ve become used to reflecting on our lives at the beginning of each year. This can also be a fun activity for children. Create a list of easy, open-ended questions about your child’s current likes, favorites, and goals. For example, you might ask, “What is your favorite color?” or “Is there something new you want to try this year?” If you choose to do this on New Year’s Eve, you can ask more retrospective questions such as, “What made you feel happy this year?”
Many families print out these interview questions for their child to fill out, and some even record these mini-interviews. This way, you can have a collection of keepsakes to look back on in future years.
2) Create a time capsule
You might think of a time capsule as something that gets buried and uncovered years later, but a New Year’s time capsule doesn’t have to involve digging up your backyard. In much the same way as the New Year interview, a time capsule serves as a snapshot of your child’s life at a particular time. Some ideas for a time capsule include a photo of your child, a drawing, an example of their handwriting such as a story or their name, small mementos from the year, even a small item of clothing.
You can also buy time capsule kits that come complete with ideas, supplies, and containers for safe storage in your home.
3) Take a family photo
Many of us look back on old school photos fondly. A yearly photo is a fun way to chart progress, especially when it comes to children. You can take this same idea and turn it in to a New Year tradition by taking a family photo every January 1st. Try a combination of group and individual photos, and you can incorporate your own unique twist on the photos, such as special outfits or props.
4) Learn about New Year celebrations around the world
Children are endlessly curious, and the New Year provides multiple opportunities for your child to learn more about the world around them. Reading about New Year customs worldwide is an ideal way to spend quality time together, while also helping your child to gain exposure to the beliefs and traditions of other cultures. Incorporating ideas from your family’s culture is another fun way to celebrate a new year while also learning more about their own background.
5) Set family goals
We’re all familiar with the New Year’s Resolution, and many of us set our own personal goals each year. However, setting goals as a family is another good way to encourage a strong feeling of togetherness. Sit down as a family and give each person the chance to talk about what they want the family to accomplish in the new year, and figure out ways to make those goals happen. Creating a vision board with photos, drawings, and checklists can help young children feel included, and they will have a visual reference they can refer to all year long.
6) Create a surprise for the next New Year
For a child, it can be very exciting to receive a gift on New Year’s Day, especially if they’re also the gift-giver. At the beginning of the year, sit down together as a family and have each person create something special to be given as a gift to themselves on the next New Year’s Day. It can be a drawing, a poem, a song, or even a letter. Store these gifts in a secure location, and your child will wake up on January 1st to a surprise they may have forgotten about entirely.
If you like, you can modify this activity by having each family member create a gift for another family member. This way, each person can be assured of a personalized, heartfelt gift.
A new year is the perfect time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished, and set goals for the future. It’s also an ideal time to get your child involved in activities, and these six New Year traditions will help reaffirm their secure place in the family.