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I have been writing letters to long-distance friends for more than a decade. (I could have said 10 years, but a decade sounds cooler). On occasions I’d start writing to local friends, too, but they died off quickly, because I got to see them more than I could write. There is something about writing letters to long-distance people, whether you have met them or not…
I personally think it is because we need to paint a picture of what that person looks like, who they are, how nice they are, etc. Amazingly the people I have been writing long-distance, I have eventually met, in person. At first it was a little awkward, but it really didn’t take long for me to feel comfortable, because I had already gotten to know these people.
How? You may ask.
Because I made it a mission that I would get to know the person. Not just the small-talk stuff you’d write back to one another, but the deep-down-hidden kind of stuff. The stuff that gets you closer than writing, “how is the weather?”
3 fun ideas
If your child is going to start writing to a pen-pal, or already has a pen-pal, I’d suggest getting your child to “know” their friend-in-the-mailbox. Get them to start asking questions. If your children are older, let them come up with the questions. The questions they want to know the answers too. But with younger children, I have put together some printables, because I know it’d be a little more difficult. *winks*
Let them ask questions
I don’t like small-talk. It seems so impersonal and dry. I can stand some small-talk, like “how are you doing?” and “hi”, but really…if you want to talk to somebody, you can find something better to talk about than politics and weather, and this is why I like asking questions. I want to really get to know the people I’m talking/writing too. I want a relationship with that person, so why not just skip the awkward stage of small-talk and get right onto asking questions?
I know when I was younger, coming up with questions was a little harder, so that is why I put together a little questionnaire for the kids to print out and send with their letters. If your kids’ pen-pal is any fun (which I hope they are) they’ll answer them, send them back, and ask questions of their own!
Let them figure out a code
What kid doesn’t like to figure stuff out, like code? I loved coming up with codes, puzzles, and fill-in-the-blank sentences to my pen-pals, and they loved it, too. It was a nice way to still write to them, but not always the same-old-same-old.
I’m sure if your kid doesn’t enjoy writing, getting them to do a code, will quickly draw them in.
The next time your kid writes back to their pen-pal, print out this free Fill-in-the-Blank questionnaire for your kid to send with their letter and see what happens next…
Write down all that you know about your pen-pal
Like I said…I take writing to my pen-pals, seriously, because I want to know them. So whenever I learn something about them that is unique and important, I write it down in a little notebook. That way, I won’t ever forget their birthday, their favorite color, what they love to do, etc. This helps me out in case I want to drop a little something special in their next letter, such as a homemade friendship bracelet, or a birthday card.
what you need to get started
If your child hasn’t had a pen-pal, you should start by finding them a pen-pal. *smiles*
I always loved colored pens when I wrote to friends. It just added a nicer, happier feeling to the letter.
And of course, we can’t forget stamps and envelopes…oh, and the address book. *smiles* These were all my bffs when I was growing up. I’d always get a book of stamps for Christmas, my birthday, or other special occasions, because I would use them ALL the time.
So, once you have the ideas, the necessities, the pen-pals…all you have to do is write. Simple, right?I will receive commission on any sales made on my blog. To learn more, read my disclosure policy.