INSIDE: How to pick a family word of the year. Ideas for getting the family to rally around an inspirational word and focus for the new year.

Start the new year off right by choosing a family word of the year for the whole family to rally around.

This year we are trying something new. We are picking a family word of the year.

We were given this idea by a good friend, who does this each Thanksgiving when her grown children come to town. In their case, they reserve a board room at a restaurant and no one emerges until they’ve all agreed on a focus word for the upcoming year.

Impossible idea with littles! However you do it you though, here’s how to get your family to rally around a focus word for this upcoming year!

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How to pick a family word of the year

Our word for this new year is “respect”. This word is always in style!

We have the same challenges most families deal with like respect for each other’s stuff, respect for each other’s space, respect for each other’s time. And, you know, just being all around nice to one another! ????

We may never be that Norman Rockwell family (is anyone?!), at least we’ll be respectful …fingers crossed.

How to Select a Family Word of the Year

  • Decide on a goal for your family for the upcoming year. Will it be to show each other kindness? Will it be less stress? More family togetherness? Better time management?
  • Depending on the age of your family, order takeout one night and brainstorm inspirational words. Have everyone write down their top 5 words, or just shout them out to be jotted down on a large pad of paper. Cast a vote to select the word.

We turned an old hot dog bun warming tray into a motivational words chalkboard to spur dinnertime convo.

  • Select a word(s) that everyone can understand. As much as I love the word “integrity”, I’m not sure my littles would comprehend. But, they do know what the word “kindness” means.
  • Does the word you’ve chosen mesh with the family goal you’ve set? If it doesn’t, go back to the drawing board.

You’ve Picked a Word of the Year. Now What?

    • Print out and laminate the word and its meaning. Stick the word on the fridge where it can’t be missed, or place it in a picture frame to hang on a wall in a highly visible area of the home.
    • Or, create posters of what the word means to each member of the family. Words can be interpreted differently for all of us. Place those posters in their bedroom, or create a Word of the Year gallery wall down a hallway.
    • Use a trendy message board to display the word of the year. (Check out the one I made here…)


  • Stuck for dinner time conversation? Talk about your family word of the year. How have they applied the word in their lives? How has the focus word made them more aware of their actions in their everyday lives?
  • Just like any goal, check in with the family and make sure the word is working for all. Celebrate the victories as you look forward to a new year and a new word.

Have you ever chosen a word of the year? Does your family make resolutions for the new year?

Let me know in the comments. Cheers to a happy new year and a new word!

How to give a trendy message board a vintage vibe!

DIY vintage ruler message board using wooden folding ruler yardstick for retro home decor.

Turn metal chalkboard bun tray into inspirational chalkboard!

Fun DIY chalkboard sign for home with family words of the year from repurposed metal hot dog bun warming tray.

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Start the new year off right by choosing a family word of the year for the whole family to rally around.

More DIY Ideas for Kids-Family:

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