Building connection, significance and belonging through reflection.
Children love to talk about themselves, especially with a parent who is willing to listen. When our children notice that we care, that we are interested in their world and experiences, they feel a strong sense of belonging and significance. Belonging and significance are two core components of feeling well and doing well.
Casey O’Roarty, M.Ed. & Positive Discipline Trainer says:
“All human beings are pulled towards a sense of belonging and significance. We are hard wired to move in this direction. “
When a child lacks a sense of belonging and significance, their self-esteem is threatened and they become discouraged. This often leads to unwanted behaviors, such as attention seeking in negative ways, hurting others and engaging in power struggles.
A fun way to boost your child’s self esteem and actively work on your parent-child connection is to spend some focused time listening to your child. A tradition in my family for the year end is to do an interview with my children where they get to reflect and talk about themselves.
It’s quite special to find out what the favorite moments have been for the whole year and we take the time to talk about things like friendhips, food, books, movies, music, vacations, birthday parties, wishes and dreams.
When children have a chance to reflect on life, daily happenings and talk about the good and bad moments, they actively work on their own sense of self. A child with a healthy dose of self-esteem has the best defense against life’s challenges.
So, here are 25 questions to ask your child that create an overview of the past year as a keepsake and also help boost self-esteem and belonging:
- What has been your favorite moment as a ___ year old?
- What was your favorite activity this year?
- What was your favorite family event this year?
- Can you tell me a bit about your birthday party from this past year?
- What did you like about it?
- What would you like to do differently next year?
- What was your favorite story book?
- Is there a character from one of the books you (we) read that you still think about sometimes?
- What qualities about this character do you admire?
- What is something that worries you?
- Who inspires you? Why do you think that is?
- What was your favorite movie?
- What was your least favorite movie?
- What is currently your favorite food?
- What about a least favorite food?
- What food might you want to try in the next year?
- If you could only eat one thing for a whole week, what would you choose?
- What is your favorite restaurant? What do you like to eat there?
- What games do you like to play?
- What is your favorite thing to do with mom/dad/…?
- Which toys do you like to play with?
- Who is/are your best friend(s)?
- What is your favorite memory from summer break?
- Tell me something about this year that you never want to forget.
- Is there something you would like to do, or a place you would like to go in the next year? Can you tell me more about that?
This is a great activity in the present moment, and also fun to re-visit from time to time. Writing down answers to these questions in a notebook or piece of paper can create a fun record for both kids and us parents. The answers can also help us understand our children more, and be an opportunity to reflect and notice how much our children have grown, and accomplished for themselves.
If your child isn’t very chatty, I encourage you to ask just a few questions at a time. We have also sometimes taken these questions and placed them into a jar for family meal conversations starters too.
What other questions might you add to this list?
Peace & Be Well,