Who says adults are the only ones who want to accomplish things in life? Kids have things they would like to accomplish too, but they need some help mapping things out. Here’s my story. I had a Bucket List as a child and I didn’t even know it. I had a best friend, Pam, and she and I were like two peas in a pod, like peas and carrots, like peanut butter and jelly, you get the idea. We lived in the Projects in The South Bronx, NY, but wanted more out of life even as kids.
We saw our friends, struggling, not graduating from high school, working after high school, having children out of wedlock, and we didn’t want that. So one day we were sitting in the third floor staircase in our 21-story building, and we said we would do the following:
- Graduate from high school
- Get out of the Projects
- Go to college and graduate
- Have no children out of wedlock
These items may seem normal to some, but where I grew up all of the above was a challenge for a South Bronx raised child. We were 14 years old at the time, and guess what? We accomplished what we said we would do. We made this, what I now call a “Bucket List”, without our parents input. We both graduated from high school. Pam went to college in up-state NY, met her husband in college, got married, and had three beautiful kids. I moved away, went to college in Atlanta, GA and graduated, did not marry and had no kids (my choice), but eventually was a foster parent. We kept our Bucket List items, and to this day we keep in touch – not as often as we like, but social media keeps us connected. I find when I write things down I tend to accomplish those things; some items may fall by the wayside, but for the most part the items get accomplished. It is so important to instill in your child the need and/or desire to complete tasks. Uncompleted tasks tend toward disorganization, procrastination, and a sense that certain things have no importance. Small tasks are importance and can provide a sense of joy. Bucket Lists are living documents and can change. I have a story behind this idea of changing Bucket List. I flew into Buffalo, New York on my way to Toronto, Canada. I took a detour and decided to go see Niagara Falls and when I got to Niagara Falls I happened to hear a helicopter overhead. Well, well, well, there was a company giving helicopter rides over the Falls and yes I did! It was not on my Bucket List to do but I took a helicopter ride over Niagara Falls and it was spectacular! I had a new item to place on my Bucket List.
How to Begin Your Child’s Bucket List
Mom and Dad can help. First, explain to your child the meaning of a Bucket List, and that its things one wants to do before he or she dies and goes to Heaven. Ask your child to make a list of what he or she would like to do in the next five years – I know, this sounds so grown up, but it will give your child something to think about. Let your child’s imagination run wild, well, not so wild, because as they get older they’ll be paying for their Bucket List items. You will, of course, let your child know that Bucket Lists don’t come cheap, depending on what they want to put on it. Start with free activities, products, or services to include on your child’s Bucket List, then, include items that cost. Ok, so let’s talk Bucket List categories, I’ll help.
Bucket List Categories
- Time – Some Bucket List items are accomplished over time, and are not quick. Bucket List items can be done in a day, every other year, every year, or every three years; it’s your child’s choice.
- Cost – Bucket List items can cost money, so your child needs to begin to save early. Sometimes a kid may not know what he or she wants to do first, but when they want to do it they’ll have the money.
- Free – What would your child like to do that won’t cost him, her, or Mom and Dad a dime?
- Education – Surely a Bachelor’s degree and maybe even a Master’s degree will be on your child’s Bucket List. Learning a second language would be nice. List out all educational goals. Studying abroad would be a great addition for a child’s Bucket List.
- Savings – How much money would your child like to have in his or her bank account? Some people would like to have a million dollars by a certain age – what must your child do to accomplish that goal?
- Long term or Short term – Bucket List items can be short term or long term. Your child can divide their list in these two categories alone.
- Travel – Would your child like to visit certain places in their country? Would they like to visit several continents? How about hike the Appalachian Trail? Purchase your child a book on unusual places to visit around the world. Guess what? You can start small – how about in your community? Is your family near any historic sites?
- Publishing – Does your child have a book inside him or her? Does he or she enjoy writing, storytelling?
- Technology Savvy – This is a must. Every child needs to learn some aspect of technology, and I don’t mean texting. Learn a website design program, learn to develop APPs, or learn to build drones – these are wonderful skills.
- Own Business – Your child may not be the type to work for someone else, so how can you help to prepare your child to open up his or her own business?
- Will try at least one time – This category may include Sky Diving, Bungee Jumping, Bi-Plane Ride (open air plane ride), Zip Lining, White Water Rafting, Hang Gliding, etc.
- Just plain fun – Camping, Paint Ball fight, building a Tree House, a Neighborhood Water Balloon fight, a Birthday Party Food Fight (participants dress up in plastic bags and bring their favorite cakes, pies and cupcakes). You get the idea!
10 benefits of a Bucket List:
- Makes what’s important to you stand out.
- Keeps you active.
- Doing Bucket List items can be relaxing.
- Bucket List items helps keep goals at the forefront.
- Doing what’s on your Bucket List can push you out of your comfort zone.
- Allows your child to have bigger dreams.
- Bucket List items help get your child’s creative juices flowing.
- Helps your child feel accomplished.
- Bucket List items are great fun.
- Your child’s Bucket List can be an encouragement to other children.
Now, there are probably more Bucket List items that you can think of. Just sit down with your child and brainstorm. Good luck and have fun helping your child create his or her Bucket List.
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