Writing back and forth with your kids

Jamie Jensen

Parenting Hack: Write to your kids!

This parenting tip gets a post ALL its own. We are constantly looking for better ways to connect with our kids. And for Jon and I we are also constantly looking for ways to connect with our child who has ADHD because it’s hard to have a heartfelt conversation with someone who is on a ladder trying to walk on the ceiling with his spider man shoes. Not good. A friend of ours suggested a journal that we gift each of our kids that they can write to us, leave it on our night stand, and then we will write back and put it on their night stand. Wait, wait, wait.

Let’s break down why this is so impactful.

Tell me. Do you respond better in the moment or when you’ve had a moment to think? This can be part of why we don’t answer phone calls, or the door, or offer to meet in person because we respond better to life when we have more time to contemplate. So anything that our kids write to us we can be mindful and then reply in twelve hours when we think of something particularly awesome to say.

Next! The kids have proof that their parents listen to them and take an active interest in their lives. Physical, in-your-hands kind of proof. That’s such a beautiful thing - no matter how you do it! Because we all get insecure and have those moments of wondering if our family really loves us or if it was all some kind of awful hypocrisy. And I’m not saying those moments will go away for our kids (I wish), but I am saying that maybe if they’re in that spot they can have a book full of loving things from a trusted adult. Don’t you wish you had that?

Third reason why we love this idea: You won’t always be emotionally available for your kids. I wish we could be - we would change the world. But the fact is that, as parents, we are still human and won’t be able to be fully present in every moment or sometimes for long periods of time. So if your child is in a dark space and together you and your child have created a book of conversation and validation they can lean back on? Beautiful.

We have an odd suggestion here at the end: don’t buy a super fancy journal. Keep it small and simple - maybe even ordinary so that they have the freedom to write the ugly, chaotic, or distressing inside of it instead of keeping it perfect and pretty. Agreed?

Want to help us continue the conversation on emotional health topics with our kids?

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