Anxiety and worry is a common challenge for kids these days – even more so for adults! However, for kids, it can be challenging to use explanations that work for us adults. Kids really can benefit from a visual to help understand themselves, their feelings and the world around them.
Vision boards are no new thing. They’ve been around forever, even gaining some momentum over the recent years. I’ve made a few myself, and then I ran into the challenge of not knowing what to do with them post usage. I have felt like I can’t throw them out, and yet, that stage has passed. So, I started cutting out magazine pictures and gluing them into a notebook.
I would include not only things and pictures of what I want in my life, but also words and pictures that just spoke to me. Sometimes, out of nowhere, I’ll see something or read something that lights a fire in me. It makes me feel invincible and inspiration starts pouring out. It doesn’t happen as often as it used to (maybe parenting fatigue has set in), so I want to hold on to that moment as long as I can.
So, I started a book.
I would write the date at the top, and paste in whatever words or pictures that tugged at me for that time. Even certain clothes, shoes, travel destinations, activities – whatever gave me that feeling of life.
I remember times, particularly in high school, that I didn’t comprehend the magnitude of the world outside the habitus of a 16 year old. To know the world was full of opportunity and wonder, besides the next school dance, maybe that could have helped me keep perspective. And maybe not. For what it’s worth, it helps me now.
Even better, it helps my kids.
I bought these little Bitty Books online, and three books come in a pack. They come with stickers and markers, but I also encourage them to look through magazines and pick out things that make them happy.
My older two daughters have a greater depth of understanding of life and the world around them, so they can choose pictures of vacation spots, activities they might like to try and foods they love. Although, my three-year old is pretty good about choosing foods she loves!
I also interview them, and we write down three things that make them smile, what their perfect day looks like. The writing is cool, but the pictures really are beneficial when they are having a hard day and want to remember how much good there is in their life, in the world.
Our brains often focus on what just happened immediately, and to be able to keep these visuals close at hand after a hard day or even at the start of the morning is incredibly powerful.
And truly, what helps kids often helps adults. The simple joys, the purposeful focus on the good can help keep the happy things in the forefront of our minds. It’s what gives us strength when things get hard. Life is messy, challenging, confusing, sad – and yet, there is also a lot of good stuff – we just have to remember to look for it.
*These also work great as a gratitude journal, writing down or pasting pictures of everything for which we are grateful.