“I had no idea my daughter, Sara, was serious about studying abroad in Italy,” one woman told me at an event I hosted for moms and their kids. I brought tools for creating vision boards, and Sara had pasted images of Rome and gelato and spelled out the phrase “La Dolce Vita” in gold letters. As a life coach, I ask people to create vision boards—collages of images, words and trinkets that make them feel inspired—to unlock what they want to do, be or have in life. Gain insight into your kid (and yourself) the exact same way by following these steps.
Schedule It Find a day when you have a block of free time—at least two relaxed hours when the house is quiet and no technology is in use.
Be Materialistic Round up magazines, old greeting cards, photos, markers, glitter and alphabet letter stickers. Anything stick-downable works! You’ll also need boards (ideally size A3), scissors and glue.
Ask Questions Spark your kid’s imagination with queries such as: What would a great summer look like? Who do you want to be when you grow up? What makes you feel loved or special?
Ditch Rules Tell your child they have free rein here. Their board can be painstakingly neat or a haphazard hodgepodge.
Don’t Hover Your child might enjoy some alone time with their thoughts, unless they require supervision. Ask if there’s anything they need and if they prefer that you stay.
Keep Suggestions to Yourself Mother knows best—except in this scenario. Refrain from offering your own judgment or ideas. The best boards are created when a child is guided solely by their intuition, direction and inner voice.
Open Up Once the activity is complete, encourage your child to share any feelings, thoughts and ideas they’ve experienced. Ask: What does this image mean? Why does that word feel important? Talk about what moved you in the creation of your own board too. Let the process be as insightful for your child as it is for you.