On Writing Letters To Your Children


These days, I’ve been thinking a lot about the ways in which I connect with River and Oak. Like every mother, I often worry about if they feel safe, secure, comforted, and heard. I’ve spent a good amount of time talking with friends about this specific challenge in motherhood. Lately, I find that this little way helps..

In the beginning, letters remained a tool to connect with River while she was at school. We’d toss a little post-it note, or a ripped piece of paper in her lunch. Now, I find that letters are a good way to connect with my children overall. Of course, this technique is more for River (who reads) then it is for Oak. But now she reads letters to him, and so, it is a way we all connect.

The letters are simple, but use full words and “adult” language. Clarity and affirmation is my goal. And in part, this is because sometimes throughout the day, I may not be clear, I may not pause to listen, I may not affirm who they are, and what we are all doing and feeling.

I noticed that River is the most calm and confident with this gesture. She loves reading, so it is something that makes her feel confident in her own abilities. Oak loves to be thought about and addressed, so, even though he can’t read, I will make it a point to write his name as well. As they get older, I realize that the big difference and commonality in our relationship when they were babies and now, is language. I used an unspoken language (baby cues) to connect with them when they were younger (a few friends still call me a baby-cue goddess. ha!), and now there are endless open and heartfelt conversations and little letters.

When we first brought Oak home from the hospital, my friend Lindsay gave me some of the best advice I’ve ever received as a parent, “When River needs you and Oak is crying, just speak to Oak as if he’s an adult. Tell him you’re helping River right now, that she needs you, and you will be with him once you are finished.” I immediately started to do this and noticed the difference it made! Once, while I was zippering her up in our apartment hallway and Oak was about a month or two old, she said back to him, ” Oak Mommy is helping me. She will be with you so soon.” Her response filled me with an enormous amount of confidence. She heard me! She felt heard! She felt like what she needed was of importance (and it was). Oak was a baby, he was always fed, bathed, changed, and loved, so crying for a moment was just a part of his language as well.

Do you write letters to your kids?  Are there any other special ways you connect while you are away? 

7 thoughts on “On Writing Letters To Your Children

  • Reply Kristin March 12, 2018 at 10:04 pm

    Hoping to become a parent in the next year so soaking this goodness up. What a wonderful example!!

  • Reply Sara Lou March 12, 2018 at 10:49 pm

    I set up an email account and email them funny stories, vacations or milestones. But that is all for the future I guess. I like your idea of connecting to them NOW.

  • Reply LaTonya Yvette March 13, 2018 at 2:42 am

    awww good luck!

    Thank you!

  • Reply LaTonya Yvette March 13, 2018 at 2:43 am

    I love that idea as well. I didn't even think of any of that.


  • Reply Mei March 13, 2018 at 10:15 am

    Hi LaTonya,
    About half an hour ago I finished writing a letter to my eight year old nephew and I find myself here feeling very strange indeed!
    I do not have children, but last week my nephew wrote to me and I saw that even as a child, like us adults,he has an inherent desire for deep connection with those he loves, and expresses this fluently through words. I love this idea of writing "love letters" to your children. It's a wonderful way of deepening bonds.

  • Reply LaTonya Yvette March 15, 2018 at 12:51 am

    Thank you so much for sharing Mei! It really is. Today, River wrote me a letter in response of a letter I wrote her. She left it on the side table in her room, so I could read before she woke up.



  • Reply Aisha Sheffield-Watts March 16, 2018 at 6:40 pm

    Yes! I write my oldest notes and put them in his lunch box. I also set up and email to send them pictures of our family and explain a little and give words of wisdom at the end. I like writing notes to my oldest as well to help him with his reading and it seems to be working, his teacher always sends me messages about how she loves his notes. I need to find ways to write things to my youngest, maybe he would appreciate hand drawn pictures.

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