Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Build a Better Relationship With Your Kids by Being Pen-Pals! {free printable}

Looking for a fun way to provide encouragement to your kids and strengthen your relationship with them? Try a pen-pal journal. (free printable) #overstuffedlife

As a busy mom, I sometimes feel I don't have enough time to really talk to my kids. And sometimes, when I try to talk to them, I am met with girls who don't actually want to talk to me. While the conversation starters I have tried recently work really well (Sophia in particular LOVES those), I remembered something I used to do a few years ago that was really fun.

I became pen-pals with my daughter.

When Chloe was 8 years old, I thought I'd try a new idea. I got a couple notebooks and wrote notes to my girls in them. Bria was 10 or 11 and Sophia would have been 5 and not reading well yet. So I just did this with the older girls at that time.

Build your relationship with your children with a pen pal journal

I wrote notes to both of them, but only Chloe answered me back. And that's okay—you know your kids, and this might not be everyone's cup of tea. I knew Bria was unlikely to respond as she's not really my writer child. But she is my chatterbox. It's relatively easy for me to know what's up with her because she talks and talks and talks incessantly. Even now that she's 15 I am usually treated to her stream of consciousness most of the time. And I love it.

Build your relationship with your children with a pen pal journal

But back to the pen-pal journals.

Chloe wrote me back. And we wrote back and forth for a few years. We weren't always terribly consistent, and sometimes Chloe would have the journal for a really long time before it would show up on my bed again. But every time it showed up, I was treated to the amazing soul of my daughter.

Build your relationship with your children with a pen pal journal

I may not have learned anything super new about her (except that she loves loved One Direction more than her sisters!), but it made our relationship stronger. It was fun for her to have a little secret way to communicate with me that her sisters weren't part of. And it was a wonderful way for me to build her up and tell her the great things I noticed her doing, to give her encouragement, and to look for the positive—even when our relationship was harder.

Tonight I made one of these for Sophia. She's been struggling a little bit with her adjustment to fourth grade and I think she would love this. In fact, I know she would. She LOVES writing, and whenever I clean her room I find hundreds of adorable things she's written: song lyrics, poems, journals about her crush, hate notes to me, love notes to me.

Be pen-pals with your kids! Free printable for a Mom and Me journal. #overstuffedlife

I've also written something in Chloe's journal that we haven't really used for a year or so. I'm even going to write a letter to Bria before I go to bed tonight. Even though she isn't likely to write back, I know that she will still appreciate a letter from her mom.

This is such a simple thing to do with your kids and the rewards are huge.

Tell them you love them in writing.

I have a hunch they'll keep it forever!

Be pen-pals with your kids! Free printable for a Mom and Me journal. #overstuffedlife

To make your own pen-pal journal, you'll need a cheap composition book (I love composition books! See my gratitude journals and summer reading journals), some cardstock, and some glue or snail adhesive.

To download:

If you are on a desktop or laptop computer, enter your email in the form below.

If you are on a mobile device, click here to see the form.

The printable will then be sent directly to your email inbox.

This post is part of my 31 Days to a Happier Home series. 

To see all the posts in this series, click here: 31 Days to a Happier Home

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Lara Neves
Lara Neves

Lara is mom to three daughters—two teens and a tween. She loves to share her parenting and homemaking triumphs and failures here at Overstuffed! She was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2015 and has been fighting it ever since. When she isn't working on her mother of the year award, you can find her reading, singing, or taking photos.

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