Things Are Going Really Well at Home
Copyright © 2011 Tina Feigal
I am a huge believer in the power of writing notes to let children know how their positivity affects you. Here’s an illustration of why I feel this way, an mail from a very attuned mom who writes notes to her girls (Dads please note: your written expressions have a HUGE impact on kids’ success, as well.)
“Things are going really well at home … Last night Nicolette asked if I could write her a “love note” for the morning. The girls love to get these personal notes. And, this morning Charlotte asked me if I ever give each of them the same note. I said no, they are each very personalized and she grinned from ear to ear. I have them saved in a Word doc for each girl with a date so that they will have these forever to reflect on. What an amazingly simple and effective tool.”
-Terri O. Johnson
How can you make notes work for you, so that you, too, can make the statement that “things are going really well at home?”
1. Take mental note of a small success your child experiences in the next 5 minutes, or recall one from earlier today.
2. Make a reminder to write a note and put it under her pillow, in his lunch, or in her backpack. Underwear drawers work well, too, and can infuse much-needed humor into your home life.
3. Wait until you are alone, and write the note.
4. Use the simple formula, “When you … I felt … because…” Ex: “When you didn’t interrupt my phone call, I felt so relaxed and happy. You showed such self-control and respect, and I could not be more pleased.”
5. Hide it where your child will be sure to find it. If she’s a reader, great. If she can’t read yet, read it to her. The effect is the same.
6. As Terri did, save the notes on your computer for posterity. Kids LOVE to look back on their successes. I’ve had some parents say their children have found a special place to save every note their parents have given them.
The power of the written word is well-understood by most people. We love to read emotional expressions about ourselves. They gives gravity to the writer’s feelings, and increase the emotional effect on the reader. The impact on the child’s neural pathways from heart to brain is enormous. It also releases pleasure hormones (endorphins), which has the effect of increasing positive behavior.
Especially when kids can’t receive spoken positives from you, due to the fact that they have heard too many negatives and they don’t really have a place in their neural structure for downloads of success, notes really do the trick. They remove the communication from the immediate, allow time for reflection, and imply the importance of the message. “Mom or dad must really think I did well if he or she took the time to write to me about it!” This hits a very deep place inside the child, and the effect is greater than you think.
After you have written several notes from your perspective, start writing ones that steer the positive feelings to within the child: “You must have felt so proud of yourself for treating your friend with asuch kindness.” Ultimately, the encouragement should live inside your child’s heart. That way, she has her own inner cheerleader, which is an incredible gift for the future. Children who can see their own strengths have tools to get past the inevitable rough spots in life. What better present could you bestow on your young person?
Remember to make every day an opportunity to express your love. You’ll never regret it.
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