2020 is almost over! For most, this has been a year of change, uncertainty, and perhaps even fear and anxiety. Your children are experiencing everything first-hand, too. Reflection allows your children to look back to their journey, process their emotions, identify the critical parts and lessons, and make adjustments for the following year.
In this blog, I will share eight reflection questions you can use to reflect with your children, along with the activities you can do with these questions. Let's start with the questions!
1. What made you happy this year?
For some, this might be a difficult question this year. However, this question allows children to look back at past events and process their emotions. Some people often say that happiness comes from the little things, and it takes us to slow down and look closely to discover them. This question gives children to do exactly that. Happiness and wellbeing are closely related, and we want children to recognize what brings them joy so that they are equipped to take charge of their wellbeing when they are older.
2. What made you sad this year?
Sadness happens in life, and we all need time to process our emotions. Sometimes, we look back to a sad event and think about ways to avoid it in the future. Occasionally, we simply cannot change an event's outcome and have to learn to accept it as is. Whichever it may be, this question gives your child space to process their thoughts and learn about how to navigate through negative emotions.
3. What made you proud this year?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of "proud" includes "feeling or showing pride: such as having or displaying excessive self-esteem and having proper self-respect." Having self-respect and confidence are essential for children to develop into well-balanced human beings. Proud events, big or small, help children recognize their ability, develop trust in themselves, and motivate them to challenge themselves further. These are all crucial qualities to children's wellbeing.
4. What was your greatest challenge this year?
For children who don't understand what 'challenge' is yet, substitute 'greatest challenge' with 'most difficult thing.' Encountering challenges is an opportunity for growth. The process of tackling the problem and the outcome is a testimonial of children's development. This question allows children to unpack the process and recognize their strengths and weaknesses.
5. What have you learned about yourself this year?
This question might be difficult at first because most people don't think about learning about themselves. To guide your child, consider giving them some scenario or guiding questions, such as:
Which subject do you find the most difficult at school? Or is there any subject that found easy the year before, but it's no longer easy this year? Why do you think that?
Are you afraid of something? What do you do to comfort yourself from it? Why do you choose to do that? How does that make you feel?
What Youtube/TikTok/Instagram videos do you watch the most? Why are you drawn to them?
These questions allow children to think through their daily activities and be mindful of their needs and actions to make better decisions for themselves in the future.
6. What should you continue doing in 2021?
Humans are creatures of habits. We tend to stick with what makes us the most comfortable. Because it is comfortable, we might not even realize that we are doing it. This question allows your children to think through their daily routine and interactions and identify the positive habits they have developed.
7. What should you stop doing in 2021?
Have you ever wanted your child to stop doing something, but they seem to never remember? It might be their habit at play. This question allows your children to identify the negative habits they have developed. There might be some habits where they don't realize as bad ones, which is an opportunity to discuss with your child.
8. What should you start doing in 2021
There are different schools of thought about how long it takes to form a habit. Regardless of which one you believe in, the consensus is that it takes time and consistency. This question allows children to identify the changes they need to make in their lives. Once they figure out their needs, develop a plan to form those habits, and start them!
How do you reflect with your children?
Reflection might seem serious for some, but there are ways to make it more interactive so that your children will engage more. A key is to make sure your child feels safe when they reflect with you. If they fear that their responses would lead to repercussions, they will not be honest with their answers. Here are ways for you to make reflections more fun:
1. Reflect with your children
Instead of listening to your children's answers only, reflect on your own life and share your answers with them. Your children are likely curious about what you are going through. They will look up to you as a model on their reflection. Just as you get to learn more about your children's thoughts in their reflections, they will get to know more about you, too!
2. Pictionary-like Reflection
Want an artistic twist? How about drawing your response out like Pictionary? Reflect as a family and have everyone draw out their responses on paper. After that, everyone can guess each other's answers and talk about their reflection. You might want to take the drawing timer away to make sure everyone has enough time to think.
3. One question a day
How about starting a new end-of-year tradition for the family? Beginning on December 24, 8 days before the end of the year, get together as a family for 15-20 minutes daily and reflect on one question. Each day, a family member will host the reflection session at their favorite spot at home. The host can take the lead of the format and turn it into something interesting for the family.
I hope these suggestions can help you to communicate and reflect with your children and get them prepared for a new year of adventure ahead.
I believe that developing children's social-emotional skills is one of the most important skills parents can support their children to develop. My goal is to empower you to help your child in the best way possible. If you have any questions, feel free to leave me a comment. :)