There are few times when we choose to write a letter over an email or post on social media. I can think of 3 occasions my family might write: a card to a loved one; to send a complaint; or the most magical of all, a letter to the big man himself, Father Christmas! Why should the magic be restricted to Christmas? Letters are a great way to encourage your child’s written development, to get answers to those things you have always wondered on your daily meanderings, and sometimes a little more than you might have bargained for!
We all love receiving a nice post and why shouldn’t your child?
This is a guest post by Cheryl Flatman, whom I often exchanged real letters with during university, and who is inspiring the love of actual mail in the post in her children. You can find Cheryl on Instagram, though if you know her in real life, she might appreciate a little note in the mail more than a like on her photos!
Writing letters to ask questions
It is often in the car where we have some of our most interesting conversations. We learn what happened today and sometimes we wonder what happens. On the way home from school one day, we pondered how many loaves were in the Roberts Bakery cooling towers that we pass every day on the way to school and back. Harry guessed 1000. (For anyone not local to mid-Cheshire, the Robert’s Bakery is next to a busy road, with glass windows so as you drive past you can see the bread travelling along with the conveyor belts through the factory and in the cooling towers ).
I like to challenge my 5-year-old to try to practice his writing, for example by asking him to write the birthday cards or a shopping list. So on completion of homework, I asked if he would like to write a letter to Mr Roberts to ask just how many loaves do fit in the cooling towers; gladly he agreed. We found some paper and lined it up (he only been writing a little while), Harry told me what he wanted to write and I helped him with the spelling. With regret, we neglected to write his age in the letter but that didn’t matter. We dropped it in the post the next day explaining that it may take a week or so to get a reply and that it’s not as quick as an email. Each night he eagerly asked if he had any post, sadly the answer was no.
Now I’m no Twitter user but I hear it’s very good at getting the attention of corporations, often by those who are dissatisfied by something or other, so after a week or two, Harry asked my husband’s PA if she would tweet Roberts to see if they got his letter. Sadly, they couldn’t find any trace of it, but thanks to the wonders of private messaging, when we got home from a short break there was a letter from Roberts addressed to Harry.
The magic of receiving a letter
He opened it with haste and as he did five £1-off Roberts Bakery bread vouchers flooded out. Very excitedly Harry exclaimed we could now go to Roberts Bakery because he had tickets! Ok, so I had to explain they were vouchers to buy bread, but better still I got to read what was the loveliest letter – bravo to whoever wrote it, the language was just perfect for him – explaining that the cooling towers hold up to 7000 loaves and in a week they cool 2.1million!
A magical gift
Really this is the gift that keeps on giving: not only has he had the chance to write to a local company, to satisfy his thirst for knowledge, but also he has received a lovely letter, vouchers and is now keen to share his finding with his classmates at school when he returns from half term.
Sharing funny tales
Another time I chose to send Pampers a funny little story about my children, Harry in particular. Harry and Alice are a little too young to remember what happened but I though Pampers would appreciate the funny tale. When I had my second child Alice, Harry at almost 3 was a proud and eager helper, he would always run off and get the “teeny weenies” (nappies to you and me!), he would pass over the nappy saying “lions are the best”. A few weeks later I happened to be looking for something and opened both halves of the bookcase cupboard. When I did I was faced with a whole heap of loose nappies! Whilst tidying them up I pondered for a moment, knowing full well I hadn’t put them there. I soon realised they were all giraffe pictures. Harry had been stashing the giraffe nappies favouring the lion pictured ones, clearly, he wanted the best for his little sisters precious little posterior, well we all know lions are the best! I was so pleased I had found the nappies before she changed size. I was so tickled by the story I had to share it with Pampers, who once again sent the lovely letter and a voucher for £10 worth of pampers! A fantastic reward for taking a few moments out to write up a funny story.
So as you can see writing a letter wondering about something or sending good feedback in the old fashioned way really can be rewarding for everyone!