Writing letters helps youngsters practice empathy, according to a new Huffington Post essay by Christine French Cully, editor of Highlights for Children magazine.
“Is your friend who moved away feeling lonely? Did the neighbor’s dog die? These are all opportunities to teach your kids how to think about the feelings of others and write the kind of letter they’d like to receive in these circumstances,” Cully writes.
Letter writing also allows children to practice penmanship, which is increasingly important as schools drop handwriting instruction from their curricula.
To get kids in the letter-writing habit, adults should encourage them to pen notes to Santa Claus or the tooth fairy. Cully also suggests having children write letters to their older selves and tuck them away to be read later.
Receiving a handwritten note is “like a getting a hug in the mail,” she writes.