Vision Boards With Kids

Welcome to 2016, all! How’s it going for everyone? I’ve been making the rounds with talks and trainings about New Year’s Resolutions, why they don’t work and how to create meaningful change in 2016. I was happy to see people were pumped to tap into their strengths and use tools like visualization to help them achieve their goals this year.

As part of my 2016 planning process (which is still evolving in February because that’s how I roll), I decided to create a Vision Board.  You may have heard about Vision Boards from books and movies about “The Law of Attraction” like “The Secret.”

For those who haven’t heard of the concept, the basic idea is that you cut out images and words that can help you visualize things you want in various areas of your life like health, family, relationships, spirituality, home, fun and career. You arrange all of your stickers and cutouts on paper or poster board and you hang it in a place where you’ll be able to view it often. You can spend time looking at it daily or several times a week and not only think about those things on the board, but feel the feelings you would have if you had those things in your life. The feelings are critical! The hypothesis is that by thinking about and visualizing those things, you will attract more of them into your life. 

I haven’t created a collage since my teenage years when I regularly cut out my celebrity crushes and assembled them on prominent poster boards in my room—hey it was the suburbs and I didn’t play sports—so I had plenty of quality creative time.

Channeling back to those teenage creative days, I was pretty excited about the project. I decided to get my daughters involved and treat it as a creative craft time with their coachy but fairly un-crafty mom. I figured this would be a no-brainer for my 7.5 year old, but may be a stretch for the 4.5 year old. I bought some beautiful scrapbooking materials and stickers to enhance our magazine cutouts. I’d recently Marie Kondo’d the apartment so it was slim pickings as far as magazines go. We were able to borrow some catalogues and mags from my Aunt Marilyn who jumped in to help us (I mentioned I was un-crafty, right?).

Before laying out the materials, I asked the girls to close their eyes, take a deep breath and answer these questions in their minds:

What do you want for your life?

What do you want to do for fun?

What do you want to be when you grow up?

What do you want to learn?

Where do you want to live?

Where do you want to visit?

What do you want to do with your friends?

What do you want to do with your family?

Then, I asked them to open their eyes and either write or tell us what they pictured.

After writing a few things down, I presented all of the materials and explained that we can now find pictures and words to put on our paper either from what we wrote down or from other images that inspire us along the way.

I could see my older daughter, Jane, starting to sweat. “I don’t understand. I don’t get it.” She said. She was starting to cry.

Of course, I’m thinking, this is supposed to be fun bonding time. I don’t want to stress her out! “I’m really blowing this whole craft project thing!” I tried explaining it three other times and we seemed to be in the same state of panic. Finally, I backed off and said, “Why don’t you watch me and maybe you’ll want to do it then.”

I started to create: sparkly letters, affirmation stickers, bright photos of Costa Rica, runners, healthy foods, peaceful flowers and grass…I was on a roll and loving it!

Jane quickly got it and started off on her own board with gymnasts, ice skaters, berries and nail polish. Brilliant. Later it clicked that Jane is a visual learner and I may have hit the ground running if I brought a sample board with me. Lesson learned!

Meanwhile, my 4.5 year old, Roxanne is a fairly abstract thinker and she got the project immediately. “I love mangos so I want to put a picture of a mango. I want to be a vet and I want to go to Africa and play in a treehouse!”

We all got into a creative flow and had a blast once we got the assignment. Jane even commented, “Mom, you’re really into this!” And she was right.

The girls were beaming with pride over their boards, hanging them in their rooms and showing everyone who comes into our home.

Mine is in the home office where I can spend some daily QT with it. I left some space for a few more pictures to be added over the year, but overall, I’m pleased with this visual reminder of the life I’m choosing every day.