Welcome to the 31 Days of Global Missions with Kids series! You can view all the posts in the series here.
Yesterday we talked about sponsoring a child, and how to involve your child in the sponsorship process.
However, I left out talking much about one of the best ways – writing to your sponsored child – because I want to spend a whole post sharing some ideas and resources.
I want to begin with an embarassing confession.
We sponsor two children through Compassion. A few others through some other organizations.
Truthfully, we rarely write to them.
You see, I’m quite a perfectionist. So, I’m always convinced that there will be a perfect moment when I’ll write personal, lengthy letters to each of them, and I’ll talk with my kids about our sponsored kids, and we’ll pray for them, and draw pictures for them, and include a family photo…
And the reality, of course, is that “perfect moment” never occurs.
Instead, I receive a letter from the child, read it, throw it on my ever-growing “papers to deal with” pile, and it sits there until the next letter arrives.
It’s embarrassing to share that, really, especially since Compassion does such a good job of sending stationery to make it easy, and because I know that these letters are so valued by the children receiving them… writing to our sponsored kids is probably one of the very most important ways I could use my time each month.
So, I’m pledging to do a better job of writing to our sponsored kids each month. Anyone want to join me?
Here are some ideas I’ve been compiling to make writing to our sponsored children a doable part of my life:
- Use a printable worksheet so my daughter can participate in writing the letter with me. See below for a free download of the worksheet!
- Set an alarm on my phone/calendar as a reminder to write to sponsored kids. My sister sets a reminder for every two weeks, so that she’ll actually do it at least once a month. It’s a system that works well for her, as she writes to her kids nearly every single month!
- Designate a space (basket, box, folder, etc.) for gathering our letters from the sponsored kids, along with the handy envelope/stationery they send along with it.
- Record the ID numbers for my sponsored child and me, along with the address for where to send your letter. This way if you want to write before I’ve received a new envelope or letter from your child, I’ll have all that info.
- Bookmark the “write to your child online” page on the Compassion web site.
- Mark my calendar for the 2nd Friday of each month – Compassion has a “2nd Friday Writing Club” and offers a theme each month for what to write about.
Compassion has some wonderful ideas on their web site with letter-writing prompts and a list of gifts that can be sent in the mail (puzzles! band-aids! baseball cards! paper dolls! laminated flowers!)
Compassion also has a great Pinterest account which is worth perusing and following with some fun ideas, too.
Disclosure: Compassion provided a copy of their Step Into My Shoes curriculum at my request so I could check it out, since it fit so perfectly with the focus of my blog and this Global Missions with Kids series. I’ll be sharing more about Step into My Shoes soon!
How to Involve Your Kids in Writing to Your Sponsored Child:
- If you haven’t already, I highly recommend going through the Step into My Shoes family toolkit together (available to purchase from Compassion). If your child has a better grasp on poverty and understanding the life of your sponsored child, it will make the letter writing experience so much more meaningful!
- Print off the worksheet below and have your children help you complete it.
- Here are ideas for additional age-appropriate participation:
- Toddlers can:
- scribble a picture to include in the letter
- place stickers on the letter
- lick the envelope, place the stamp
- walk with you to the mailbox to drop off the letter
- listen to your prayer for your sponsored child as you send the letter.
- Preschoolers can do the above, plus:
- select a small flat gift at the store to send
- draw a picture or complete an art project to include in the letter
- say a “repeat after me” prayer for your sponsored child as you send the letter.
- Younger elementary school-age children can do the above, plus:
- write answers to fill in the blanks on a letter template worksheet
- lead a prayer for your sponsored child as you send the letter.
- Older elementary school-age children can do the above, plus:
- write or type a complete letter.
- Teenagers can do the above, plus:
- log into your Compassion account and send a letter via the internet.
- Toddlers can:
Printable Fill-in-the-Blank Worksheet to Complete Together
Finally, here’s one resource I’m making for myself that I want to share with you: a free printable write-to-your-sponsored-child worksheet.
You see, I want my kids to be able to be involved, so I don’t want to just write my own letter, or type it up on the internet every time. But, they are young, so they aren’t in a position to write or type a letter themselves.
Plus, we have more than one sponsored child. And while I’d love to write them a personalized letter, I also want to be able to write to them all.
So, I’m putting together some worksheets that we can send each month. Honestly, I was inspired by the letters we receive from our sponsored children.
The worksheets have some fill-in-the-blank areas where we can write, and some spaces for
scribbling coloring a little picture.
Here’s why I like using a worksheet:
- it is faster than writing a complete note all by myself
- I don’t have to think of what to say
- I can ask my daughter for help answering some of the questions, like “what are the names of the people in our family?”
Thanks to this worksheet, I wrote to our sponsored kids yesterday for the first time in over a year. I just printed off the pages, filled them out with my daughter – simple, because they’re just fill-in-the-blank. We wrote a personalized note at the bottom of each one, and then we colored and mailed to our kids.
That’s it! It was simple and easy, and I hope this might be a resource for you, too!
If you are someone who already sends letters to your sponsored kid every month… please don’t use these worksheets. I don’t think they’re as good as a personalized, handwritten letter! (Or at the very least, write your letter as usual and add this to it).
But for those of us who have struggled to write at all, hopefully this is a good “middle ground” between sending nothing and sending a fully handwritten letter.
While you’re at it, it would be fun to print a coloring sheet for your sponsored child to color. Crayola has lots of free printable pages – you could choose one appropriate for your child’s gender/age.
I plan to share one new worksheet each month with email subscribers, so if you’re interested in receiving future worksheets, sign up here.