We know how it is. All you have to do is finish one thank you note, but your four year old is pulling on your sleeve and saying the word “mommy” over and over until it no longer sounds like a word. The constant interruption can make both tasks — the note-writing and the parenting — feel like chores rather than choices. But here’s the thing. With a few simple shifts, we can begin to invite our kids into our note-writing process, at once checking off our to-do list and giving them purpose and pleasure. Here’s how to invite your kid — however old they are — into the letter writing club.
Start ‘em young. Your child doesn’t have to be a wordsmith — or even know how to write — to get involved in the note-sending process. If your child can speak (even if it’s just a few words), have them dictate a message to you and put it in quotes within your note. Prompt them by telling them who you’re writing to and why (“I’m saying thank you to Auntie Grace! If she were here, what would you want to tell her?”). Their answer, whether it’s a humorous non-sequitur or a heartfelt sentiment, is sure to add a sweet element to your card.
Just add art. Kids drawings can be amazing additions to any handwritten note, especially if your kiddo isn’t writing yet. Ask them to illustrate the gift they received if it’s a thank you note, or invite them to add fun colorful borders and doodles to decorate the card. They’ll love contributing to the final product — you can even ask the recipient to send you a photo of the card once they receive it, so your kiddo can see their art in its new home.
Let them in on the little things. There’s nothing more satisfying than licking the envelope, adding the stamp, and sliding your card into the mailbox to be sent on its journey. Let your kids do these easy and rewarding parts of the process, so they can feel that inevitable spark of joy that comes along with all things snail mail. Once they know how good it feels to send love in letter form, they’ll want to keep coming back for more.
Practice gratitude. Because kids don’t love being told what to do, the best way to have your child learn to practice gratitude is to model it for them. When they see their parent sending a thank you card, or hear them speaking about how lucky they feel to have what they do, they pick up on it. And when your kiddos have a solid note-writing practice down the line? They’ll definitely know who to thank.