Birthday Letters | A Smart Way to Provide Goal Setting Tips to Your Kids

As many of you have probably caught on by now, I'm a big goal setter. I think setting and chasing after goals is one of the best ways we can invest in our lives. When my kids were younger and all at home, I was always sharing goal-setting tips with them so they would see the value of making goals for their lives and futures.

A little over 10 years ago, I decided to create a new goal for myself that I hoped would teach my children this lesson. In my family, we celebrate all 3 of our kids' birthdays the last week of January. It's always a jam-packed week.

  • Christopher's birthday is January 28.
  • McKenzie and Kelsey's birthday is January 31.

I made it my goal to start writing birthday letters to each of my kids every year as a way to invest well in their lives. I told them that for as long as I'm alive, I'll write them birthday letters. What this means is starting on January 1st of every year, I invest a lot of time and energy into writing birthday letters. So this past month, that's what I've been doing.

The Value of Birthday Letters

And do you know what I've discovered?

These letters do as much, if not more, for me than they do for my kids.

Don't get me wrong. I know my kids appreciate these letters. However, I think I appreciate writing the letters even more than they appreciate receiving them. Why? Because as I write, I appreciate each of my kids in a deeper and more meaningful way. Sure, it's a simple practice I started to add value to my kids' lives and my relationship with each of them. But it's ended up impacting my life more than I thought it would. Amazing how that works!

How to Write Birthday Letters

I've shared this strategy before, and every time I do, I always get people asking me how I structure the letters.

Well, that's a hard question to answer because I do something different each year. I try to make the letters unique to each of my kids and to what their past year has looked like.

However, I always try to incorporate a few things every year. I always seek to encourage them, highlight areas of growth I've seen in them, and share goal-setting tips with them. One year, as an example, I took a simple approach. I divided up the letter into two parts:

  • A Year in Review
  • Coming Attractions

So, for instance, the year I wrote this letter, Christopher started his freshman year of high school. I used a keyword in each section of his letter that I thought related to his life that year. Here's basically what I wrote about:

A Year In Review: I summed up this section of his letter with the word “firsts.” I talked about all the “firsts” he had experienced the past year (i.e. starting high school, swimming for a high school team, joining Robotics Club, etc.). I encouraged him to see every year as an adventure filled with “firsts.”

Coming Attractions: In this section, I focused on the word “choices.” I explained all the different choices he would face in the next few years, and how real successful people realize that the BIG successes in life are the result of LITTLE, everyday choices they make. Character choices, relationship choices, activity choices, thinking choices, spiritual choices, and more. I let him know that I was completely available to help him think through all the choices he would be faced with, but I also told him that these were his choices and encouraged him to take 100% responsibility for every choice he made.

Hopefully, this short explanation is helpful for you as you live it forward in your role as a parent and intentionally invest in the lives of your children.

Want More?One Small Parenting Tip That Makes a BIG Difference!

Children's birthdays are their most important day because it's their day. They own it!

But as a parent, your children's birthdays can be one of your most important days as well. Children are more open to hearing advice and wisdom on their birthday than on any other day of the year, so why not capitalize on this by writing a birthday letter?

A birthday letter allows you to share more deeply and meaningfully with your children on the one day when he or she is the most likely to hear what you have to say. This FREE RESOURCE shares tips on how to write a birthday letter for your child as well as provides an actual example of one of the letters I wrote to my son.