Children writing to our president and the First Family has always been a wonderful and important tradition.
And with the inauguration of a new White House resident today, this is a great time to get kids thinking about their own hopes, their concerns, the issues that are on their minds, and letting them write to the president about them.
In our weekly link roundup post this week, we linked to an NPR article about the number of letters from children that President Obama will continue to answer, even after today.
Some favorite letters I’ve seen: The girl who wanted advice about getting a nose pierce; and the child who wanted to make every Monday National Free Cake Day
Okay, so my real favorite may have been the letter from a 6 year old boy concerned after seeing images of a young Syrian refugee child on the news.
Kids will always amaze us if we give them the chance.
I have also seen kids throughout my own life squeal when they’ve received a response from The First Lady, or a presidential offspring — from Amy Carter to Chelsea Clinton, Laura and Jenna Bush, and certainly Malia and Sasha Obama.
So if your own children have questions, concerns or advice for the incoming president, encourage them to get it down on paper. Children should address their envelopes like this:
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington DC, 20500
The contact page at whitehouse.gov also suggests you type on a standard 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper, or my pick, write neatly in pen. Include your return address on your letter and envelope, as well as an email address if there is one.
You can also use email, of course, but I think there’s something far more special about a traditional letter featuring a child’s own words, especially in that child’s own handwriting.
If you want to get your child’s classroom involved, be sure to check out the Mail to the Chief initiative of Handwriting Without Tears which also has some fabulous examples of children’s letters to the president from the 1000 participating schools in 2012.
That includes the letter from Calder, above, who is very concerned about wolves. And we can’t blame him.
Whether your kids are thinking about the environment, pollution, racism, immigration, violence, schools, their communities, or whether there might be any White House pets, this is a good way to get even youngest kids feeling like they have a voice in our political system.
Even if it is a good decade or more before some of them can mark an election ballot of their very own.
Be sure to check out the Mail to the Chief initiative of Handwriting Without Tears. Maybe give it a shot this January 23, in honor of National Handwriting Day.