New Year’s Eve is one of those holidays that – outside of visiting New York and a kiss when the ball drops – doesn’t really come with a set list of traditions. December is filled with movies and songs and every other kind of activity for us to do. By the time I’ve finished all of those things, my energy for antics stalls at about 0. We’ve tried going to big celebrations and smaller family events but for our clan, a peaceful night at home with the New York ball drop.

Now, I’m not saying that you should follow our lead. The idea of staying home on the last night of the year might make you feel like you’ve lost all your mojo. But no matter how you choose to celebrate the last day of this year, I do suggest you take some time to look back and reflect with your kids.

It’s easy to forget all of the events of the year in the flurry of holidays and life events. We generally tend to focus on the future and what we’re going to do NEXT year. And this is a good thing. I’m an advocate of goal setting. But before you ask your kids what they want to do, remind them of what they have done.

Our family has made it a tradition to write down our memories. We all sit down with flat river rocks and a permanent marker to document our reflections. Our memories generally go to big events like trips or family visits first. Then, because our family revels in the hysterical, all of the funny things that someone said or did. Only after we’ve really looked back can we remember the difficult moments: our fears, what worried us or held us back.

We think about our challenges and about how we overcame them. I’m not talking about the time my son couldn’t find a Lego piece or my daughter’s hair wouldn’t lay quite flat. These challenges are the ones that required strength, endurance, and focus to solve. Like how my son used to be so worried about messing up in class that he had to check every answer with his teacher. Or a group of girls tried to bully my daughter out of running for student council treasurer. I know it sounds sort of depressing, but it’s not. We made it through!

My kids smashed those problems. I want them to remember that for the next problem they face because if one thing is for sure, it’s that there will be plenty of challenges in the year to come. So, on those river rocks I mentioned, we write a short description of our victories and keep it in a bowl. When they doubt whether or not they can make it through something, they can look to our virtual wall of strength as a reminder that of all the times they triumphed.

So, in between the ball and the kissing, whether with rocks or just words, take a moment before saying goodbye to this year to remind your kids how they crushed it!

And then, after it’s all said and done. We enjoy some treats and watching the ball go down. If you are like me and spending the night at home, you can check out this article for fun ideas!