May 11: Expressing Love Through Writing
Last week I had so many sweet and funny conversations with children about how they were celebrating Mother’s Day. Lots of children were making cards for their moms (I always spend a portion of the week before Mother’s Day making cards with children in my office), which got me thinking about how we can use written expression to connect with our children. Here are a few ideas that came to mind:
Notes in lunch boxes are a sweet way to connect with young children. In addition, consider occasionally slipping a note in your child’s back pack or jacket pocket. As your child grows, keep in mind that it could be embarrassing to have a note from a parent appear at a time when a child is in public, so after first or second grade I would consider more private ways of writing to your child.
Leaving a post-it note on a child’s mirror or by their bed can be a lovely way to provide an unexpected moment of connection. Think about writing something silly that will make your child smile, or simply write, ‘I love you.’
For school-aged children, consider starting a parent-child journal. Find private places in the child’s room and the parent’s room where the journal can be hidden when it is passed back and forth between parent and child. If your child is reluctant to write, you could ask one or two simple questions and perhaps include an observation, such as, ‘I noticed you are working really hard to remember about hanging up your coat when you come inside.’
I have written before about how keeping a gratitude journal can improve well-being. Consider keeping a family gratitude journal, and perhaps writing in it as a family at a specific time each week.
With teenagers, parents can consider writing back and forth on a shared note in an app or simply making an effort to text something random and loving a couple of times a week. If you worry that words might be off-putting to your teen, consider sending a funny picture of the family pet or a silly meme. Once again, consider your child’s privacy and be sure you are choosing a means of communication which won’t lead to unintentional embarrassment with peers. If you are uncertain about what would be the most private way to communicate electronically with your teenager, ask them.