Separation from your child is painful–whatever the situation. Writing letters to your child is a creative way to maintain your relationship and stay involved in your child’s life.
I began writing letters to my children to keep in touch with my children, and maintain our relationship as best I could. As a primary caregiver it was very difficult – and painful – to be separated from my children due to an unjust court order.
You may have to request that you be allowed to send letters to your children through the court, and it is important to follow all the rules or expectations placed on you. If you are involved with family court, CPS, or are receiving assistance through a social service agency, I would advise you to keep copies of all correspondence sent to your child. I am not qualified to offer legal advice, for those kinds of questions or concerns, it would be best to seek additional help or counsel.
What I can do is write letters. I send my letters once a week, and do my best to let my children know I love them–and to give them a semblance of stability despite all the chaos in our lives.
Here are some ideas on how to create fun, meaningful letters to your child:
The letter you write is like a photograph–it will capture a moment in time, an image or an expression that is passed on to your child. Your letter is a gift. The quality of the letter is more important than the “quantity”; becareful on how you convey your message, avoid sending money and gifts (outside of a holiday, birthday or special event) as this creates as expectation that you may not be able to support long term. The most important part of your letter is the meaning you convey–and how the letter nurtures your relationship to your child.
* Write your letter when you are calm, upbeat and feeling good. The letter should convey your love and care for your child–and should be age appropriate.
Do not send a letter to your child that reflects agitation, fear, anger or other negative emotions. Similarily, do not include in your letters negative comments, remarks or sarcasm about the child’s guardian/parent or living situation. If you find that writing letters is triggering strong emotions, seek support or help. Those emotions are understandable, but should not be passed onto a child.
* Create a positive environment for writing your letter–turn on your favorite music, light a candle, take time to connect with pictures or objects (toys, books, things they made, etc) that remind you of your child, pray, take a walk, etc. It may be hard, especially at first, to write. You may be struggling with emotions or on the verge of tears (I have been there myself!). By creating a positive environment, you are putting aside those emotions and/or stressors so you can focus on your child, and convey a message that is both meaningful and supportive.
* Send the letters consistently (ie on holidays, weekly, monthly, etc). You may also consider using stamps that are cute or fun, or using decorative envelopes.
* Consider poetry! Poetry is a fun, and expressive way of communicating to your child. You may want to send a humorous, or age appropriate poem for your child. Nursery rhymes are also great.
Try an acrostic poem: write your child’s name on a piece of paper, and for each letter of the name write something descriptive, funny or memorable about your child.
This link creates a “Name Poem” for your child. It’s really cool, and a great way to let your child know you care. When you visit the link, you answer a few questions and type it into a blank field. When you are all done, you click a button to generate your poem then print:
Online Poetry for Children (Various Subjects):
* Send cartoons, comic strips or newspaper articles. Find subjects your child may be interested in and clip articles. Or clip articles that talk about places you have visited. Thrift stores and garage sales are a great place to find articles or magazines for children.
* Send pictures. The pictures could include you, your children, your friends, your family members, or things your children are interested in (animals, places, celebrities, etc).
* Create a letter with pictures. This works well if your child is young and does not read very well. Draw pictures on the letter to tell a story, or clip pictures from magazines.
* Give your child positive affirmations. It is so important to let your child know that you love them, and that you care. Affirmations boost self esteem, make you feel better and provide hope. You may also include prayers, Scriptures or other messages that are a part of your family, traditions or spiritual beliefs. For example, fortune cookies are a form of affirmations.
“The Children Lights” site gives information on how affirmations work, why they are importnat to a child’s development and includes tips on how to create affirmations: Affirmations are positive statements about who we are, and what we can become and experience…The key in using affirmations effectively is to have them evoke positive emotions within us.”
* Send postcards from new or unusual places.
* Send jokes, riddles or “Mad Libs”.
Aha Jokes is a great site to get jokes for kids on a variety of topics: http://www.ahajokes.com/animal_jokes_for_kids.html
* Send Autographs. Send your child autographs from friends, family, pets (include pictures of animals or paw prints) or if you are lucky–from a celebrity. You may consider including letters from others within your own letter.
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