New Year’s Resolutions… how many have you kept?
Less than 10% of people who make a new year’s resolution follow it through. It’s a tough but not surprising statistic. So, when Ella’s publicist, Amanda Abelita at Abelita PR in Atlanta, suggested her clients make a vision board, I got so excited knowing this would be a beautiful project to explain to and experience with Ella.
A vision feels different than a resolution, especially when having kids learn about goal-setting.
At 7 years old, Ella certainly has many dreams. They are real visions to her. Like writing the 20 or so film script concepts she has in her head, or creating housing and showers so there won’t be any more homeless people in the world.
When we shared Ella’s vision board on her Instagram and Facebook on Dec. 31, 2020, a parent of another young actor asked me how to make one. It never occurred to me that someone would ask for such guidance. But what a beautiful thing for any family to do with young dreamers.
So, here is my how-to guide for making a vision board with kids (and then don’t forget to do one for yourself!)
Sit down and have your child dictate a list of their goals and dreams. Go big and go narrow. But keep it reasonable.
I asked Ella to list goals and things she would like to accomplish. She has a few standing items, like getting a puppy. (This is several years running as her No. 1 request to Santa.) Could 2021 be the year!?
But she also has aspirations of becoming a filmmaker. The number keeps increasing but she has quite a few script ideas in her head. I’m thrilled to support her aspirations, and while that particular one may seem far off, I’m not so sure how far. We did take a screenwriting course together and purchase the screenplay formatting software. She constantly begs me to enter more pages.
If only writing script pages got all her homework done…
Being a series regular on a network TV show — which involved a regular Monday-Friday job on a professional set for months -- along with working on so many other sets since the age of 3 clearly made an impact.
Let your child’s career aspirations be a part of the vision board. I’ve seen some young actors be super specific with the size roles they want to book in the coming year.
I was hesitant at first to get specific, as the entertainment industry can be the biggest game of craps ever. So many factors go into booking roles, but someone has to book it, so why not your child!
Once you see their list take form, you can help them decide if they should include some lofty goals. Ella is frequently vocal about her plan to eradicate homelessness — perhaps a byproduct of our time in LA where she saw how people had to live on the streets. One man had a hodgepodge camp of random items set up on the sidewalk by the Walgreens we frequented.
And after seeing so much trash out and about on our family bike rides, Ella has described the program she wants to create to encourage people to stop littering.
Who am I to declare that those things can’t happen. It’s her vision board. But I did suggest, and she agreed, we should keep the blue convertible for a future vision board.
Offer suggestions to help spark their creativity and remind them of things they love.
Some kids may not know where to start, or realize how to incorporate some of their passions into a vision board. This is homework where it’s totally cool to help out, parents!
I offered a few suggestions. Like how Ella always talks about wanting to go swimming more. So I explained how putting a symbol for a pool and water would be a great vision for her board. More swimming in 2021!
I reminded her it also can contain things she enjoys and has fun with, like biking.
Decide if you are going to build the vision board digitally or old school with paper and glue.
Back in the day, vision boards were made with images torn from magazines and glued into a collage. You can definitely make this such an art project, but households tend to have fewer magazines, newspapers and printed materials laying around.
So, a compromise could be searching online and printing out images to match each goal. Print, cut, paste. Even add glitter, stickers, gems or any art adornments to make it a fun creation to hang on the wall. Having kids write words on the board in their own handwriting makes it all the more special a keepsake.
But, doing it digitally, like we did, is clean, fast and crisp.
I use Canva just about every day to create... something. From social media graphics to Ella’s electronic press kit, I truly enjoy designing. And with Canva templates, any beginner can make a graphic in no time.
For Ella’s, I started with a Canva template, then customized it to fit the number of vision items she chose. We searched for images and illustrations together and she made final choices.
Canva is FREE! I use the paid pro version, which comes with some great features. but you can make amazing graphics with the free version of the mobile app or by creating an account on your desktop at Canva.com. Your changes save instantly across the cloud.
Ella is learning to use Canva and other online programs and mobile apps herself, for video editing, screenwriting and more. Older kids may enjoy doing this entire vision board process themselves, whether digitally or getting hands-on with the craft version.
Display it, share it and otherwise let the universe know what you want out of the year!
Make sure your child wants to share their vision board, and on what scale.
We posted Ella’s vision board on social media. It’s part of how we share her story. That inspiration prompted questions from other parents on how to go about creating their own, and thus, the writing of this blog.
But, you or your child may only want to share the board with family or friends. Or perhaps just keep it as a private visual that hangs on the wall.
Whichever scope you choose, be sure your child looks at the board from time to time, to be reminded of their dreams and goals.
We’d love to see your vision boards! Tag us on Instagram @adventuresofellagrace, Twitter @ellagracehelton or Facebook /adventuresofellagrace
Ella's mom, Lee Nessel, authors this blog. We are constantly learning and sharing the many lessons and stories along the adventures of Ella's performing journey. If you reach out to Lee with a question, it's likely to wind up a blog post, to help the greater child acting community.