One Word For Kids: New Year, New Growth Goal

By Jessica Wolstenholm

One Word for Kids

I’ve never been much of a resolutions person. The few times I tried to start the year with specific promises to myself, I came up short by Valentine’s Day. In the past few years, though, I’ve found great success in goal-setting each month in small doses and choosing one word as a theme or banner over my year. 

You may have seen this One Word phenomenon in your social media feed. Folks at #OneWord365 and have paved the way for others to choose one word that serves as motivation, inspiration, and focus.

Last year my word was CULTIVATE and it was definitely a season of tending and taking care of important relationships and dreams. Placing that word as the banner over my year allowed me to prioritize and focus on mainly that which would cultivate my connections and goals.

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Choosing One Word for Kids

This year, I decided to invite my children to choose One Word for the new year. A word that would remind them of a goal or dream for their life. We sat down together as a family for lunch on New Year’s Eve and discussed the idea. I expected them to take a while to understand the concept but to my surprise, they immediately shared their words.

My 8-year-old daughter (who has had several challenges this year in 3rd grade with friendship dynamics) chose the word KINDNESS (and my mama heart fluttered with joy).

My 5-year-old son (having really struggled with complaining lately) chose the word THANKFULNESS (and I knew God was speaking to his heart right then and there).

Next, we chose a Bible verse to go along with their word to read and memorize as we purpose to keep the word in focus this year. Though choosing their words came easy (to my surprise), I know that following through and remaining focused on their words this year will be the real challenge. But I love that now we have something to point to when dealing with issues of kindness and gratitude.

Choosing a word may take more time and thought, especially for some kids who may be resistant to the idea. If you haven’t done this in the past, consider choosing a word for yourself first. Then invite your children to participate in the process. Encourage your kids to think about what they want this year to be about.

A Few Questions to Ask When Choosing One Word For Kids:

  1. In what area do you want to grow this year?
  2. What things have been challenging for you in the past?
  3. Is there anything specific you want to get better at this year?
  4. What gifts has God given you that you want to develop?
  5. What friendships do you want to invest in?
  6. (for 2021) What good things from 2020 would you like to take with you into the new year? (less activity, more family time, etc.)

Answering these questions may bring to light a relationship or activity your child wants to focus on. His/her answers may lead to more specific goals and then a word that will encourage them to focus on those goals and keep going when things get tough.

Don’t know where to begin? Start with the Fruit of the Spirit.

Galatians 5:22-23 is filled with words that will inspire and motivate kids. Especially for little ones (hey, even 3-4-year-old children can choose One Word!) . . . start with words like LOVE, JOY, PATIENCE, etc.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 ESV

Download your One Word for Kids printable here and display your child’s word for the year! Or if you’d like to choose a family word + verse this year, print the family version here.

I’ve learned that kids love to focus on specific things. They easily become obsessed with brands, characters, and book series because they want to connect with something and belong to something. This year, I want to encourage my kids to connect with purpose and belong to God and all He wants to do with their lives as they focus with intention. Will you join us?

Have you chosen one word for yourself or your kids before? What difference has it made in your lives? Come share with us on Facebook or Instagram.

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