Writing letters to my children is one of my favorite things to do and is something I have been doing since before they were born. I love that my husband and I will be able to look back one day and remember our life with them. I think it will be sweet for their spouses to be able to read their stories. I also love that they will be able to reflect back on their childhood one day through my perspective.
If you want to start writing to your kids, or if you already do so and need some tips, I’ve got you covered!
1. Pick a realistic timeline.
When they’re in utero or their first year of life, things are changing fast. It may make a lot of sense to write weekly or monthly. As they get older things change a little more slowly and you have less frequent milestones, etc. We have three kids and I write at least 4 times a year. This is once per season so it covers all their birthdays, holidays, vacations, and their school year – very well. This has become my go-to timeline. It’s not too much pressure to write only 4 times a year, and I am free to jump in and write at any other point along the way. I know this – if it’s too much you won’t do it, even if you really want to! So be realistic with your timeline!
2. Be true to yourself.
If your just a facts kinda girl, then just put the facts. Use bullet points if it makes it less daunting! If you’re more the type to pour out your heart, then go that route. Personally, I write like I am telling a story about their lives. I am kind of their personal narrator. The most important thing is not to put unrealistic expectations on yourself, because again, you just won’t write. You know you love your children; these letters don’t define that. Document in such a way that one day, you are going to be grateful you even did it at all! This is (most likely) not going to be published work, so no pressure! You do you!
3. Choose your platform wisely.
I adore the idea of paper journals, but I knew that I would not write as often as I wanted to if I was using them. I have friends who use real paper and they look like art! Truly amazing! I, however, work from my laptop and it’s so much easier to open Google Docs and jot down a quick note. Not to mention, my letters are well protected and I will need more than one copy! I even write real quickly from my phone at times. Just TAKE IT FROM ME. Find something and stick with it. I was using 3 platforms at one point, and it was overwhelming to have to go in and combine them!
4. Decide how many letters.
When I first started out, I was writing individual letters to all 3 kids. This was sweet but I found it kept their stories from interacting with each other, so I either had to repeat myself in every letter or they didn’t get to read about each other. Several years into it, I went back and combined most of their letters. I have found that I enjoy writing about them as individuals but also doing it in the form of one letter to all of them. This way I can talk about vacations, foster friends, and other things that affect all of them, in one place. This way they also know each other’s stories.
5. What will you talk about.
This is different for everyone. Just write what’s on your heart. I tell little stories that reflect their personalities. I write about special memories from trips and holidays or just everyday life. I write about milestones, big and small. I write about surgeries, major health concerns, or successes. I write a lot about how they interact with each other and us. I talk about their school, and hobbies, and I use names of important people in their lives so they will be remembered. I know, I know, all of that sounds like a lot, but take heart in knowing that every season doesn’t have to include all of those topics!
Most importantly, I tell them about who they are and our hopes and dreams for them. I want them to always remember where they came from, how deeply we love them, and what an honor it is to be their parents.
The most important thing to remember is even writing a little, or just once a year, would still be a beautiful keepsake for you and your children. If they’re older, it’s not too late to start, just play catch-up … or start where you’re at! If they’re young, remember that if you don’t stick with it consistently that’s okay. If you decide that writing them letters is important to you, then just do something, no matter how simple! If you are not really into it, then forget about it! You are still going to raise amazing children who love you and view you as the best mom in the world!