Home > Kids > Values and Responsibilities > Manners > Teaching Children the Art of Correspondence

Teaching Children the Art of Correspondence

Condolence Letters

A parent of your child's close friend has died. Even if your child has attended the funeral, sent flowers, visited, or telephoned, a condolence letter is a must. A commercial sympathy card will not do. Remember that condolence letters are comforting and diverting for those who have suffered a loss. Sometimes they become part of the family history to be passed down through the generations.

The letter should be written in ink with a fountain pen if possible. Try to use black ink. If the child's handwriting is hard to read, it is all right to have the letter typed and signed in ink.

The condolence letter should not be a formal, formula letter; it should be written from the heart. Your child can begin by acknowledging the friend's loss and saying that he or she feels sad about it. The condolence letter is the place to recall the special characteristics of the deceased, visits to your home, lessons learned from that person, good times shared. Such reminiscences celebrate the life of the deceased rather than being morbid and depressing about the loss.

Above all, don't spend all your time saying how upset you are. The person who receives it might think you are the one who should be getting the condolence letter.

Love Letters

Watch out. You never know who will end up reading love letters. Keep them newsy on the surface. Your feelings will come through in the style and tone of your letter.

A good rule of thumb is that the best love letters are written in the sand.

RSVPs

Translation: Respond if you please. And, please, respond promptly.

A telephone number on the invitation absolves you from writing. So does “Regrets Only.” However, if you were planning a party, wouldn't you like to get a note saying your guest is pleased to be invited and looks forward to coming?

If you can't attend, let the host know the reason you can't be there. If you accept, do your best to honor your commitment.

Schools no longer teach etiquette, and charm school is something rarely heard of these days. So, basically, it's up to parents to first convince their children that courtesy is crucial and, second, to teach them the rules of courtesy—also called etiquette. If parents don't do it, children must learn by offending people and suffering the consequences. We learn by watching the behavior of others.



More on: Manners

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Etiquette © 2004 by Mary Mitchell. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


highlights

8 Epic Emoji-Themed Crafts, Activities & Recipes
Check out the best emoji crafts, activities, and recipes! They're perfect for an emoji-themed birthday party or anytime you need DIY (and screen-free!) summer activities for kids, tweens, and teens.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme!

10 Free Summer Learning Worksheets
Print these free printables for preschoolers and kindergarteners to help your child's mind stay sharp until September!

Ready for Kindergarten?
Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks