Guest Columnist Anne-Carole Grosh-Cooper: How To Write A Love Letter To Your Child

Valentines-day_image

Anne-Carole Grosh-Cooper lives in northeastern Pennsylvania with her husband and two children, Lana and Raphael. A former secondary education teacher, she is a stay-at-home-mom and a freelance writer on behalf of Cardstore. She juggles writing and attempting to keep a clean house with being a mom/friend/drill instructor. For more about Cardstore, see here:  http://www.cardstore.com/

There is no more important person you can compose a love letter to for Valentine’s Day than the love of your life: your child. Some relationships may fade in and out of your life, but your love for your child will be lifelong.

 

The written word is permanent and enduring, different from words spoken aloud, which may tumble out clumsily.

Here are some tips about how to write a love letter to your son or daughter that will be fondly remembered for years to come.

 

1. Gather Your Thoughts
Take a few moments to think about what you want to tell your child and jot down an outline. Sometimes a visual reminder of the points you want to touch on and the tone you want to take can help keep your letter on-track.

Sample Outline:

A)  Why you’re writing 

·         What you love about your child

·         What you hope they’ll get out of this letter

B.) A Valentine’s Story

·         Valentine’s Day from your youth

·         Valentine’s Day now with your child

C.) A Valentine’s Wish

·         For now

·         For the future


2. Remember Why You’re Writing
It’s the little details that mean a lot. As a parent, you likely notice so many such details about your child’s ever-evolving personality. It’s these details that endear your child to you. Jennifer Wolf, parent advocate, coach, educator, and About.com columnist, compiled a list of seven words to use as prompts in letters to your child.

·         Love

·         Notice

·         Enjoy

·         Proud

·         Cherish

·         Hope

·         Believe


3. Tell A Story
Share memories of Valentine’s Days from your own youth — either as a child or from the early days of your courtship with your spouse. Your child will always want to learn more about where he or she comes from.

Example: When I was little, my Mom and Dad — your grandparents — always made Valentine’s Day special. Actually, they made the day after Valentine’s Day even more special. On Valentine’s Day, they’d give both me and my brother (your uncle) a small toy. I’d usually get an action figure that I’d been eyeing in the toy store weeks before. The following day, my parents would give us two boxes of candy each. They explained the reason: they loved us twice as much. In later years, they explained that the red, heart-shaped boxes of candy were two-for-one the day after Valentine’s Day, so we could get double the candy for the same price. What kid is going to complain about getting more candy?

4. Keep It Short and Sweet
Kids have short attention spans. (To be fair, so do some adults.) Try to keep your letter to just one page. More people quote from the sweet and simple words of Dr. Seuss than they do passages from Tolstoy’s “War And Peace.” Referring to your outline can help you condense your thoughts and pack more meaning into a short space.

 

5. Be Authentic
How you say it is maybe even more important than what you say. Be the real you, the parent your child knows and loves. Love comes from the heart. Years down the line, your child will have a lasting — and accurate — memory of you.

 

Example: This Valentine’s Day, I want you to know that even when I yell at you, I still love you. You may hear “Go to your room!” or “You’re grounded!” more often than “I’m proud of you,” but it makes me no less proud to be your parent. In fact, sometimes I’m secretly proud of you for the very reason that I sent you to your room. I’m proud of you for always being you. And I hope you feel the same about me as your parent when you look back 20 years from now.

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