How do I help my kid find what matters most to them (right now)?

Values are core principles that give our lives meaning and propel us through difficult times. They help our kids identify their interests, make choices, and develop into the unique people they are. People are hard-wired to pursue authentic, personally meaningful, and relevant work, research shows. Whether at home, school, or work, people are more likely to be engaged in a task when it has personal meaning for them. So, it is important that our kids understand what’s meaningful for them. Take the time to reflect with your kid about what truly matters most to them, and then take steps forward to help them develop in those areas.

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With the “what matters most” activity, you and your kid can reflect on what matters most to them. The activity helps you and your kid dig deeper into the unique skills, values, habits, and interests that make them who they are. In this activity, you and your kid will reflect on: 

  1. Gratitude: What your kid is grateful for points directly to their values and what they care about. Use their gratitude as a way to understand core values.
  2. Interests: Your kid’s interests are what drive them from day to day. Their interests have the power to get them out of bed, get them learning, and lead them to happiness.
  3. Confidence: When your kid is confident in their ability to do something, they are more likely to do it well, research shows. Self-confidence is linked with resilience and persistence, two very important habits of success for our kids that help our kids overcome setbacks and obstacles.
  4. Mattering: Your kid needs to feel like they matter and belong. Learning science confirms secure attachments lead to success in school and in life.
  5. Curiosity: Psychologists view curiosity as a life force, vital to happiness, intellectual growth and wellbeing. Helping your kid harness their curiosity will take them far toward discovering their identity and purpose.


When you look at all of these areas combined—what your kid is grateful for, what interests them, what abilities they’re confident in, what makes them feel like they matter, and what they’re curious about—you get a really good look at what makes your kid unique and what matters most to them right now. You can start to see overlapping themes, which can lead to your kid’s developing core values.


So, what can you do with this new information? Help your kid apply it to the various aspects of their life. The more they feel like what they are doing aligns with their values, the more motivated they will be to do those things. Here are a few things you could do:

Are you interested in helping your kid focus on what matters most? Download the “what matters most” activity to get started.

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What matters most to your kid with Prepared Parents