When I was about 15 years old, I opened my lunch and found a piece of paper inside the paper sack. I opened it and read, “Thanks for being my sunshine, Ashley. I love you so much. Love, Dad.” Even as a stubborn 15-year-old, that note made my whole week. I didn’t bring it up to my dad, but I slipped that note in my pocket and took it home with me and hung it on my bulletin board. That note went to college with me, and made it into my scriptures I carried it around with me on my LDS mission. I still have that note in a small keep-sake box in my dresser and every once in a while I go through that box to see if I’ve accumulated any junk, but that note always stays.
I felt so special, you guys. It probably didn’t seem like a big deal to my dad to take 10 seconds and write a little note, but for me, that was huge. My parents were really good about telling me how much they love me and they always took great care of me and my siblings, but there was something about receiving a special, unexpected note, that told me something unique my dad noticed in me that made my teenage heart soar.
Now that I’m a mom of two (almost three) little ones, I’ve noticed how little things like giving a sticker to one child when they aren’t expecting it, or grabbing one of the children and smothering them with kisses and telling them unexpectedly how much I love them, makes them smile and react so differently from when they get “normal” praise for doing something I asked them, or listening, or sharing. I’ve been waiting for my oldest to get old enough to appreciate notes and two weeks ago I hid his first note in his shoe. I cut a piece of paper into a heart shape and drew a silly face on the note and wrote “I love Finn because he makes me laugh!” He doesn’t know how to read yet, but he excitedly found it in his shoe and ran to me to read it to him and his little smile almost made me cry. He was so excited. You know where I found the note later that night when I went to check on him sleeping? On his pillow…under his sweaty head. I completely melted. It meant something to him! I think it’s important to make sure our children know that we not only love them, but to tell them what we love about them, or what we appreciate about them, or what we learn from them. In a sense, it’s positively reinforcing those traits we’re bringing attention to.
So, I know little things like this seem to take way longer than we feel we may have time for, but I promise, it will be worth it. Print out this little printable, cut out the cards, hide them in unsuspecting places for your kids to find (in their bed, shoe, lunch, around their toothbrush, under their cup at dinner, etc.), and wait for their smile. You’ll melt. And they will be so grateful to hear, read, and see your praise. Download the free printable here:
What are some of YOUR favorite notes to write, to make your child’s day?!?