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8 Words to Include in a Birthday or "Just Because" Letter to a Child

What to Say in a Letter to Your Child


When you write a letter to a child, it's magical! It communicates love, pride, and commitment beyond the power of everyday spoken words. So make writing a letter to your child an annual event, either on their birthdays or around the holidays. To your son or daughter, it will be more than just another tradition -- each letter is a tangible expression of your love and pride, combined with the hopes and dreams you have for the future.

More Writing Exercises: Journal Questions for Single Parents | Write a Family Mission Statement

Not sure how to get stated? Here are eight specific words to include when you write a letter to a child:

1. "Love"

Young woman sitting at table with pencil and paper.
Hans Neleman/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Of course you want to tell your child how you feel! 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.

2. "Notice"

When writing a letter to your child, share what you've noticed recently about him or her. How has she grown? What positive characteristics do you see emerging? For example:

  • 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

3. "Enjoy"

Describe what you enjoy doing together. This will mean a lot to your child, and it will help put the letter into context when he or she reads it again in the years to come. For example:

  • Playing games
  • Cooking together
  • Reading together

4. "Proud"

Be specific when you describe what makes you proud. This is something we all long to hear, and the words will be like nourishment to your child when he or she re-reads the letter years from now. For example, you might express pride in your child's:
  • Interpersonal relationships
  • Academic progress and/or work ethic
  • Athletic abilities and/or various talents

5. "Cherish"

In each letter to your child, share a few memories that mean a lot to you personally. Your stories will communicate truth in a way that's more memorable to your child than any singular compliment. For example, you might include:

  • Memories of a shared vacation
  • An observation you'll never forget
  • The memory of a time when you realized your child had grown in some way

6. "Hope"

In addition, take the time to share your highest hopes in your letter. For example, you might include:
  • Your hopes for your child's friendships
  • Your hopes for your child's own observations of his or her talents
  • Your hopes regarding his or her own dreams

7. "Believe"

This is an opportunity to share your confidence in your child, as well as the beliefs that continue to motivate you personally. For example, you might include the following when writing a letter to a child:

  • Your own convictions about his or her future.
  • A Bible verse that speaks to this time in his or her life.
  • A quotation that has touched you personally.

8. "Promise"

This word is a little tricky because you should only use if it you really mean it! As long as you stick to what you can truly commit to, using "I promise" statements can convey your dedication in a way that's evident to your kids. For example:

  • I promise to love you always.
  • I promise to always listen to what you have to say.
  • I can't wait to see your game next week, and I promise I'll be there!

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