conversations with kids

5 Conversations to Have With Your Kids Before the New Year

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This past year, one of our children grew physically more than in any other year so far. The transformational changes from last year’s school pictures to this year’s are simply hard to believe. I’m reminded often that our kids are growing up fast. And not just physically, but in every other way as well. This requires that we’re having intentional conversations at every stage. One of the ways we’ve found to do this is by prioritizing the start of each year.

Every year before January rolls around, I take my kids out individually to talk about their dreams and goals for the coming year, and to share mine for them as well. They always look forward to these personal times, and there are always some key areas we talk about. As you anticipate the new year and helping your kids excel, here are 5 conversations with kids you can’t afford to miss.

1. Relationships

Preparing your kids for future success can hinge on how you coach them toward relational success now.

Relationships matter because they are the secret sauce of successful living. Win at relationships and you win at life. Your kids are counting on you to help them make the most of their relationships. You might need to talk to them about making new friendships or improving current ones. They may need to reconcile a hurt or strained relationship either inside or outside the family. This might require you to help them think through a scenario, a conversation, or even an apology. Preparing your kids for future success can hinge on how you coach them toward relational success now.

2. Finances

Most parents don’t teach their kids how to handle money, and that can really hurt them in the long run. Talk to your kids about how to handle finances in three key areas—giving, saving, and spending. Discuss areas of needed growth. Which of these three things are they good at and which ones not so much? How have you learned to manage these three areas personally? Share with them some of the lessons you’ve learned and blessings you’ve experienced through things like generosity and delayed gratification. Also, let them learn from some of the mistakes you’ve made with money. As best as possible, always let your personal example of wise money management speak the loudest.

3. Character

Try to always know the next character trait your kid needs to grow in so you can discuss it with him or her. Does your son need to grow in patience, kindness, respect? Maybe your daughter’s struggling with pride, or materialism, or device addiction. A simple way to have this discussion is to mention some of the things you’ve observed in your kids and allow them to speak into the conversation as well. Maybe even give your child one specific character trait to prioritize in the coming year. I personally have a list of questions I ask my children at the start of each year to help steer this conversation and tap into what’s in their hearts.

4. Fun

Every kid has dreams and desires. Sometimes it’s just a matter of asking the right questions to peel back enough layers to see them. Last year, one of my son’s desires was to start a YouTube channel. So over the past year, we’ve made multiple videos together, along with some great memories. Talk to your kids about the things they are into and get invested in those things yourself. If you’re having a hard time getting conversations started with your kids, always remember that children love to talk about things they are interested in. So maybe pull back on trying to talk to them about your stuff, and start talking to them more about their stuff.

5. Spirituality

I find that what’s going on in my children’s hearts and minds can often be the greatest mystery of all. While I want to believe that I can fully help them with everything in their lives, that’s just not true. Kids hurt. They doubt. Sometimes they struggle. They were made to need more than just us. They need community. In addition to us, they need other friends and mentors in their lives to talk to and who will speak truth to them. In our family, we also encourage our kids to pray to God. Some simple spiritual questions I use with my kids are these: How is your relationship with God lately? What questions, doubts, or struggles do you have? Can we pray together?

Earn some points: Are you married? If so, share this iMOM article with your wife: 7 Questions to Ask Your Child at the End of the Year.

Sound off: What are some other conversations with kids we need to have right now?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What is one of your goals for the new year?”