Emily Stone, LICSW, social worker and Senior Clinical Strategist at Mightier
Vision boards are a visual and creative way to process and represent aspirations.
They help to give focus and clarity through a process that is hands-on and allows the mind to wander then center on goals.
While typically vision boards are used with adults, kids can absolutely benefit from taking the time to think about their future hopes and dreams.
While it can allow time for them to think about things they would like to be or accomplish, it also creates a great opportunity for conversation and connection. You can even make your own vision board along with your child and share with them your hopes and vision.
Vision boards can be displayed on a piece of paper, poster board, or wall. While they are typically created from collage materials like magazine cut-outs of pictures and words, they can also be drawn or written.
Once materials are gathered, the fun can begin. When starting a vision board it can help to use some prompts to jump-start the brainstorming process. These questions can be things like:
What are your biggest goals and dreams?
What would you like to be like when you grow up?
Where would you like to live?
Where would you travel to?
What kind of skills or new activities would you like to explore?
What kind of difference do you want to make in the world?
What would you like to do that you have not done yet?
Allow yourself and your child space and time to go through this process. Browse through magazines and cut out things that speak to you. Write quotes or draw pictures of things that are important or valuable.
Once your child feels as though they have gotten to a stopping point, listen, ask questions, and refrain from judgment.
Listen to their thoughts and feelings. Learn more about what they put on their board. Take time to allow them to speak, without interruption or having them rush through to share everything.
Ask lots of open-ended questions. For example, “What does this represent for you?” or “Tell me about this picture.” Offer them an opportunity to ask questions about your board as well.
Refrain from judgment. Your child may cut out a picture of a Transformer and say that they want to be a Transformer when they grow up. That is great! While they will (most likely) not become a Transformer, it is okay to have that dream and ambition. Listen and ask questions like, “What does a Transformer do that you want to be able to do?”
Remember that this process does not have to be completed in one sitting. In fact, it may be more helpful to refer back to it from time to time to add new things, discuss accomplishments, and think through changes as time goes on.