Writing a Letter of Encouragement for Thanksgiving

If you know Active Parenting, you know the value we put on building courage in our children through the process of encouragement. “Putting it in writing” is such a powerful force in our society that a written letter of encouragement will often carry more weight than the mere words themselves.

This week, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, write each of your children a short letter focusing on what about them you are thankful for. This can include their strengths, areas of improvement, and how they contribute to the family. Then either mail the letter or put it someplace where each child will find it. And no texting! They should have a hard copy to keep and reread whenever they want to. With very young children, you can read it to them—but they’ll still enjoy having a letter of their own to keep.

Keep a few tips in mind as you write:

  • Focus on improvement, not perfection.
  • Be sincere, or they will see through you like a greedy relative at a funeral.
  • Be specific about what you like and about the improvements.
  • Include how the child’s positive behavior has been helpful to others.
  • And don’t forget the most important message: “I’m thankful you are my son/daughter and I love you.”

You may not receive a big thank-you from your child, nor should you expect them to suddenly stop complaining at bedtime. Just know that underneath the surface, your words will have an encouraging impact that will nourish their roots like fertilizer.

Dr. Michael Popkin

Founder and President
Active Parenting Publishers