This month let's encourage 31 different people with notes to cheer them on. January can be difficult with the holidays behind us and grey days surrounding us. That is why I'm calling this the January Card Challenge!
If you and your family are participating in the January Card challenge, you might want some ideas on what to write. Here are some suggestions as you write notes of encouragement.
How to Write Notes of Encouragement
Be specific! Be honest. Be kind. As a teacher we are told don’t tell a child, “Good job.” We are to offer specific praise, so students know what they did well. For example, when looking at a child’s artwork, “Your color choice is cheerful.”
Think back to the notes and cards that mean the most to you. When someone offers a specific detail, it shows they really took time to think about what they were saying.
If you are like me, you are worried you’ll jot a note and it will be filled with spelling issues. Why can’t I just email? I recommend writing handwritten notes because they are tangible. Some of us struggle to receive words of affirmation. There are rotten moments in life. I learned to keep a folder of notes students and parents wrote to me. In those moments when only complaints seem to come, it is helpful to have some kind words stashed away.
Here are some notes I've written on the front of cards. The specific notes of encouragement are on the back and only for the recipient.
When I taught fourth grade, my students and I visited a local nursing home many times. We took cards with us. I asked my students to write a note and draw a quick picture (such as a smile, star, or a flower) for the residents. Signing our name is thoughtful. Jotting a personal note and adding a quick doodle or a work of art goes a long way!
I recommend proof reading your work. Writing it down will allow you to read it out loud to determine if you are saying what you intended to. Try typing up your note before writing it in the card because it will help dismiss your spelling and grammar fears.
Labeling Envelopes: Review for Kids
If you decide to send out cards, your children might need a review on how to label an envelope.
The middle of the envelope requires the name and address of the person you are mailing it to.
Here is an example.
Traditionally, the sender puts their name and address at the top left. This is called the return address.
It helps to have this in case the mail needs to be returned for any reason. Better yet, it allows the person who received your note to send one back to you!
The return address can be placed at the top left or on the back at the top of the envelope.
I don't often write my return address on the back of an envelope. It is so much fun to write a note and make some art on the back of the envelope. I think this makes receiving a letter or card extra special.
How to Send Your Notes
If safely possible, you can knock on your neighbor’s door and deliver it in person. Not all the people on your list are next door.
To send a card overseas, you will need an international stamp. These round stamps are currently $1.30 at the United States Postal Service. Other than that, stamps are currently $0.58 but you can be creative on how to send things.
When sending to your doctor or nurse, you should already have access to the address. When it comes to your favorite author or illustrator, you will need to do more research. You can look this up online, but the publishing house’s name and address are listed on the copyright page of a book. In this case, you can write the illustrator’s name on one line, then begin the next line with “c/o” (meaning: care of) and write the publishing company’s name. Then continue with the address. For example, If I were to send a card to Heidi Woodward Sheffield, illustrator for Are Your Stars Like my Stars? I would write this:
Heidi Woodward Sheffield
c/o Sterling Children’s Books
1166 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY USA
If you are working with a child, help them review where things go on an envelope. Here’s a previous post about helping children write letters. https://www.lifeandlearning365.com/post/helping-children-write-a-letter-to-a-friend
Maybe you don’t feel up to giving away 31 cards, that’s okay. Let this challenge spark a few notes of encouragement. I’d love to hear how this encouragement challenge goes for you!