Looking Back and Looking Forward

I just love Pinterest! I wish Pinterest was already around when I was teaching pre-schoolers and Kindergarten kids more than a decade ago.  Pinterest started in 2009 and I was already well into my tenth year in the education industry by then.

I don’t teach anymore and I now use Pinterest to search for parenting articles, DIY projects for birthday parties, and even a few home decorating ideas. One of the best discoveries I found there was the New Year Interview activity for kids. It’s meant to be done with your kids every December or January as way of reflecting on what has been and getting ready for what is yet to come.

I actually started this interview with my son last 2013. He was five years old then and had no interest whatsoever in staying put for a long time for an interview. Having him look back at the year and tell me about his favourite memories was relatively easy. The trickier part was asking him to look forward and plan for the new year. For instance, when I asked him what he wanted to get better at, he said, “Anything.” When I asked him what new thing he wanted to learn, he again said, “Anything.”

Right there, I learned that planning ahead – hey, even just looking ahead – wasn’t something that came naturally to kids. It’s a learned skill.

This made the New Year Interview even more appealing. I initially wanted it to be the jumping point for a digital scrapbook project that would preserve memories of special events and current favourites. But now it has taken on a more important dimension. The New Year Interview is now one of a few activities that will hopefully teach my son how to look back at the past and at the same time, look to the future.

You may download the New Year Interview for Kids here. I hope you find this Printables by Jan freebie a worthwhile activity for your kids once the festivities and fireworks have died down.

New Year Interview for Kids_Page_1

New Year Interview for Kids_Page_2

Why is it important for kids to learn these skills? I came across the following quote from one unknown source:

“We learn not from doing, but by thinking about what we do.”

And it’s true. It’s a lot like that other popular belief – the one that tells us it’s alright to make mistakes as long as we learn from those mistakes. And we only learn when we reflect on which ones went right and which ones went wrong. Once we realise these, planning takes over as we decide to make changes and do things a little bit better. Reflection is important to learning, because it helps us build self-awareness, strengthens personal growth, and for the end result, improves our plan of action for the next time.

What I just said won’t of course make sense for kids. But when we teach something to our children we don’t usually spell it out for them, do we? What we do instead is engage them in regular activities that develop the skill and attitude. Doing the New Year Interview is just one way. There are some myriad other ways you can help your kids develop reflection and planning skills – when you make a summer plan of chores and activities, when you agree on and eventually review a reading log, etc.

So what are you waiting for? Download and print out the New Year Interview for Kids and have some reflection and planning time with your kids this New Year.

 

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