When you write a letter to your child, it can be magical! It communicates love, pride, and commitment beyond the power of everyday spoken words.
It’s a fun idea to make writing letters to your kids an annual event, either on their birthdays or around the holidays. To your son or daughter, it will be more than just another family tradition. Each letter is a tangible expression of your love and pride, combined with the hopes and dreams you have for their future. They may even pick one out of a keepsake box in 20 years and be reminded of just how special they are to you.
Your letter can offer encouragement through eight simple words that every child should hear.
Of course, you want to tell your child how you feel and “love” is probably the most important word you can use. Even if “I love you” is something you say every day, the message is conveyed differently when the words are shared in writing.
For example, you might say:
- It’s hard for me to describe much I love you!
- Being your parent has been one of the greatest gifts in my life.
- There’s nothing that could ever change how I feel about you.
Parents “notice” a lot about their children as they grow, but how often do you actually reflect on it and tell them about it? Share what you’ve noticed recently about their behavior or maturity in your letter. How has she grown? What positive characteristics do you see emerging?
For example, you might point out:
- The generosity your son has for his siblings
- The kindness your daughter shows her friends
- The maturity you’ve witnessed in how your child handles conflicts.
Throughout every stage of their development, there are things you “enjoy” doing with your child. In your letter, describe something special you do together right now. Knowing that you love to do something they enjoy will mean a lot. It will also help put the letter into context when they read it again in the years to come.
Think about the simple things that bring a smile to your face and theirs:
- Playing games
- Cooking together
- Reading together
Be specific when you describe what makes you “proud.” This is something we all long to hear, and the words will nourish children when they re-read the letter years from now.
For example, you might express pride in your child’s:
- Interpersonal relationships
- Academic progress or work ethic
- Athletic abilities or various talents
In each letter to your child, share a few memories that you “cherish.” These are the moments that mean a lot to you personally and they may not realize how special that time was to you. Your stories will communicate truth in a way that’s more memorable than any singular compliment.
For example, you might include:
- Memories of a shared vacation
- An observation you’ll never forget
- A time when you realized your child had grown in some way
You probably have a lot of “hope” for your child’s future. It’s good to let them know about your hopes and dreams for them, but it doesn’t have to be anything too big.
Try not to put unnecessary pressure on them with something like, “I hope you become a doctor.” Instead, offer encouragement for what you observe at the moment:
- Your hopes for your child’s friendships
- Your hopes for your child’s own observations of his talents
- Your hopes regarding her dreams
It’s important that your kids know that you “believe” in them. Use your letter as an opportunity to share your confidence in your child, as well as the beliefs that continue to motivate you personally.
For instance, you might include:
- Your own convictions about his future
- A Bible or inspirational verse that speaks to this time in her life
- A quotation that has touched you personally
The word “promise” is a little tricky because there are definitely some promises you should never make to your kids. When used appropriately, though, “I promise” statements can convey dedication in a way that’s clear and full of meaning.
Think of promises you know you can keep:
- I promise to always love you, no matter what.
- I promise to listen to what you have to say.
- I promise to always consider your feelings and try to see things from your point of view.