In our busy world with so many demands on our time, we are beginning to lose the art of writing letters. So many communications now are by text messages, sticky notes or quick comments in passing.
My dad was never much of a letter writer all my growing up years. He worked shift work and often two jobs, so there were times I would go a week at a time without seeing him. But in my late teens, I lived in Europe for two years, and my dad wrote me every other week for the full two years.
So, take the time to write love notes to your children.
Time Required: A few minutes
- Be specific. The best love notes are specific and to the point. While it is nice to say that you love your child, it is better to say what prompted you to write the note. You can start with a phrase like, "I love that you…." or "I was really impressed the other day when you…."
- Pay a compliment. As Mark Twain said, "I can live for two months on a good compliment." We all love to be praised, and our children are no exception. A good way to start a complimentary sentence is "You are the most wonderful…." Let her know what you liked about what she did and how impressed you were.
- Tell how your child made you feel. Use an "I-message" here. "I am so _______ because you …." Were you proud? Humbled? Excited? Encouraged? Then say it!
- Give encouragement. Sometimes love notes to your child are appropriate as a source of encouragement. A note that expresses confidence in advance of a test at school, an expression of courage in the face of a trial or challenge, a reminder that life is good even when she doesn't make the team - these are all topics for love notes. You can start an encouraging expression with words like "You can do …."
- Express gratitude. Love notes are always good when your child does something to help or show her love. Simply start such an expression with a "Thank you for…."
- Give love. As fathers, we sometimes are better at a shot of confidence than we are at saying "I love you." So in your note, say something that expresses love. "You are so amazing and I am proud to be your dad. I love you so much."
- Use stickers and stamps. For younger children, and for daughters forever, little stickers and stamps adorning your notes will be appreciated. Buy a couple of packages of stickers or some stamps and keep them handy. They don’t have to always be hearts and teddy bears; sports symbols, rocket ships, and just a little bit of color will go a long way.
- Write in third-person. Some dads I know let the family pet or an imaginary friend be the author of their notes. Your handwriting will, of course, give away your true identity, but sometimes it can be fun to be a little creative.
- Send it in code. Dads can get away with some fun in their love notes. You can write the note in code (numbers for letters, letters backwards, etc.) so that the child will have to think a bit to decode the message.
- Find unexpected places for notes. Leave the notes where you child will find them but not expect them. I have left notes in shoes, lunch boxes, backpacks, school lockers, under pillows, and taped on the steering wheel. The unexpected note in an unexpected place is totally fun for your child.
- Write from the road. If you are out of town, buy a picture postcard and send it with a love note on it to your child. They will love the picture of where you have been, and will enjoy the love note even more.
What You Need:
- Pen or pencil
- Colored pencils or markers
- Stickers or stamps