Helping Students Bring Closure to the Year

This past year was one for the books. Some of us will remember 2020 as a year of loss and hardship. Others will look back with gratitude on the unity this time brought to their family. If you were lucky enough to keep not only your job, but also your sanity, you may have sacrificed elsewhere (lookin’ at you, quarantine fifteen!).

No matter what 2020 looked like for you, you’re likely glad to see it go. But how do we move on from what was, for so many of us, such a troublesome year? Here are some ways you and your family can bring closure to the year:


One of the most powerful ways to start a new year is to reflect on the learning and growth that has taken place over the previous year. This can happen through conversation or in writing, or both. Side note: A lot of academic reflection takes place at the end of each school year too, facilitated by teachers. One can never reflect too much! 

Set goals/resolutions

Setting resolutions is one of the most popular traditions of this time of year. It’s a chance for a fresh start, and many feel there’s no better time to change habits or make a commitment than at the beginning of the year. But the thing about resolutions is that most of them fizzle by February. The key is to set resolutions that you actually want to reach, and that you’re motivated to sticking with. If you don’t read at all, then committing to read for an hour every day probably won’t happen. Instead, start small, with a benchmark closer to 20 minutes three times a week, and gradually work your way up. If your family never has dinner together, then that probably also won’t happen every single night. Start with once a week and go from there.

Create a time capsule

Collect a few items from 2020 with particular meaning to you and your family. If no such items exist, or you don’t want them buried away in a time capsule, have each family members draw pictures and/or write letters. Place them inside a box or other vessel, and tuck it away somewhere far from reach. Agree on a time to open it—one year, 5 years, or even 10 years from now—to see how much life has changed.

Evaluate Your Growth

Finally, look at your growth from the beginning of the year until now. This growth could include measurable growth like a reading level, or more abstract growth like fears you’ve overcome. It can be even more gratifying to hear evidence of this growth from others, so have your family all look for signs of growth in each other, too.

No matter what, we can all be glad to say that 2020 is behind us. It was a challenge in so many ways, but we can start 2021 with hope for positive change and a plan for how to create it!

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