As the new year begins, I’m always thinking about the calendar. It’s probably because of the yearly planning we all tend to do. (Have to get after those goals, am I right?) Or maybe it’s because every year for the past 16 years I’ve received a wall calendar for Christmas from a dear friend. Whatever the case, a good wall calendar or even a digital calendar that you keep up to date online can help you prepare for the year to come.
Personally, I like to take time in January to go through all of the months of the year in my wall calendar to call out and make note of special dates. There are family members’ and friends’ birthdays; special days like anniversaries, get-togethers and parties; important school dates and activities for my children; and, of course, vacation and holiday planning.
Keeping a calendar is a good reminder that life can be extremely busy at times. At others, it can be mundane.
A Calendar for Consistency
How keeping a calendar helps me to figure out when it’s best for me to write the child I sponsor:
I don’t know about you, but I find it very hard to write to my sponsored child with any consistency unless I plan for it. That’s why keeping a calendar is so helpful.
Remember how I just mentioned that life can be crazy busy? Well, I don’t like to add to the stress and pressure of a busy time of year by adding that very important thing to do on top of everything else.
I use my wall calendar to help me determine the months when I am the least busy, and I make a note to write my letters to my sponsored child during those months.
This works for me because it helps me to prepare. I can add notes from my sponsored child’s last letter as prompts for items to respond to. Or I can look at other things going on in the calendar around the time I intend to write and pull topic ideas from those themes.
Side note: One thing to be aware of is the fact that your child’s response letters won’t be all that timely. For example, if you write a letter in April asking about your sponsored child’s Easter traditions, it can be somewhat entertaining and a little odd to be reading about their Easter plans in June or July, or whenever your sponsored child next replies.
Anyway, if you like the idea of using a calendar to make it a priority to write to your sponsored child in the months that are the least busy for you, here are some monthly letter-writing themes you might find to be helpful. You can pick the months that work best and copy the theme to your wall or digital calendar so you won’t have to bookmark this blog to come back to if you don’t intend to write for at least a few months from now.
12 Ideas for Writing in the Months That Work for You
January: Since goals and new beginnings are already on most people’s minds this month, why not focus on asking about your sponsored child’s hopes and dreams? Share your own hopes for the year, and encourage your sponsored child to know that their dreams are never out of reach with God.
February: The month of February is synonymous with love. Of course, your sponsored child might not celebrate Valentine’s Day in their country, but you could talk about some things that you love. Family, friends, places, things to do, times of the year, puppies, kittens, etc. Then ask your sponsored child about what it is he or she loves.
March: I know, I know … typical guy topic, but everyone knows March is for March Madness! Talk about your favorite sports, athletes or ways to exercise. Ask your sponsored child about the sports he or she plays or what he or she likes to do to stay active.
April: I’ll be honest: The topic for this month should be Easter. It’s always the best one for April. Ask your sponsored child how they celebrate Easter in their country. That said, I also am a bit of a clown, so April Fool’s Day is one of my favorite days. You could also ask your sponsored child to share one of the funniest things that happened to them recently.
May: May is for moms. And, I know, this topic can be a bit sensitive for people who have either lost their moms or didn’t have good relationships with their moms. But let’s expand the topic a bit. Ask your sponsored child about the special women in their life, and encourage them to let the women know they are special. Share about some women in your life who are special to you.
June: Similar to May, June holds Father’s Day. Ask your sponsored child about the men in their life. Whom does he or she look up to? Share with them some stories of honorable men in your life.
July: This is a topic near and dear to me. July Fourth is the day that Americans celebrate our national heritage and honor a nation’s decision to declare itself free from tyranny. And by the providence of a great and holy God, all men and women are created with equal dignity. Talk to your sponsored child about their own dignity in Christ. Tell them that they were created for a purpose and that God gives them their rights.
August: This is the month when most kids in America go back to school. Naturally, it makes a great topic to talk about with your sponsored child. Ask your sponsored child about their school. Where is it? What is it like? What is their favorite subject?
September: The air becomes crisp, the light shines golden and the leaves begin to turn bright colors. It’s a beautiful time of the year. It’s also when fruit trees and bushes begin to yield their fruits. Ask your sponsored child about the seasons in their country. When do the crops become ready for harvest? What is their favorite fruit?
October: Even though farmer’s markets tend to run throughout the summer, October is when you have the biggest selection of fresh fruits and vegetables to choose from and typically the best prices as most markets close down for the year. Ask your sponsored child what the markets are like in their country. Where do they buy their meat, milk, fruits and veggies? What item is their favorite to buy from the market?
November: Of course, the topic for this month is thankfulness. Ask your sponsored child about a few things they are thankful to have in their life.
December: Could it be anything other than Christmas? It’s already on every child’s mind. And every Compassion child receives a gift for Christmas. Ask your sponsored child what he or she received as a gift for Christmas. Most centers will have parties and celebrations. Ask about those parties, and share some of your own Christmas memories and traditions.
Birthday letter: I like to send a quick note each year to wish my sponsored child a happy birthday! It’s usually very short and just says something to the effect of “I’m thinking of you on your special day.”
Share Your Ideas
Do you have any of your own topics for any of these months that you think could be helpful? Add them in the comments below. And if now is a good time to start the first letter of the year, follow the link below to get writing.
18 Comments |Add a comment
As it takes 2-3 months for letters to reach the children, it might make sense to write 2-3 months in advance of the month or subject (for example, writing about Christmas when you write your letter in September) so just consider transit time when you consider your subjects.
Please send me your address. I misplaced my envelope. Thanks.
PS I actually didn’t know I was receiving emails.
Hello Mary! Compassion’s mailing address for letters is:
Colorado Springs, CO 80997
Please let us know if you have any additional questions by sending an email to [email protected]. Blessings!
Hi ! I love my child ! So I just write letters whenever. Normally a letter starts with “ hmm I bet Nunpar would love to hear that!” I also love including pictures because pictures show our lives in ways words never can ! Is there any way I could send drawings to her ? Since she drew me a picture of some trees and I thought it would be special if I drew her a puppy since it’s her favorite animal
Hi Madison! Absolutely! Along with a personal letter, you may send scannable, flat, paper items (such as greeting cards, coloring pages, photos, or drawings) with your correspondence to your child. These items should be no larger than 8.5” x 11” and will be digitally scanned at our headquarters to be delivered electronically to our national offices. Each letter, and accompanying scannable items, should total no more than six front and back pages. If you have any further questions about our letter writing guidelines, more information is available here: cintl.us/letter-faq. Thank you so much for blessing your sweet child with your love and support!
From what I understand, there is really nothing personal about the letters that I will be sending. I speak Spanish and chose a child to sponsor in a Spanish speaking country specifically to be able to write to her and receive letters from her in Spanish. From what I read now, she won’t even get a copy of the letter that I sent but some translated version in print? I took a pic of the welcome card that I wrote out to her in Spanish and she will never see it? I am very saddened by this. I had great hopes of reading hand written letters from her in her native language. How very disappointing that I will get some translated version in English! This really takes that personal connection away. If I am wrong about this, please correct me and give me some hope of a more personal human connection.
Hi Wendi! I am so sorry your letter writing experience has not been what you hoped for. Please let me share more information and hopefully address some of your concerns. Because Compassion works in many areas with different dialects, we do not suggest that you write to your child in her native language. However, if you wish to write to Maria in Spanish, we ask that you please include an English version as well. This will allow the translators to provide the child with the most complete and accurate translation.
If you choose to handwrite a letter, this handwritten copy will be scanned into our system. When Maria receives a letter from you, she will receive a copy of the original letter you wrote as well as a translation in her language. She will be able to see all the work and thoughtfulness that you put into your letters. 💌
We encourage you to continue writing her as this is a great way to let Maria know she is valued and loved! I sincerely hope all this information helps. If you have further questions, please email us at [email protected], and we would be happy to assist you.
I have made a habit of putting a reminder on my phone on the first of each month to write our Compassion children. Started doing this after I read an article about how regular correspondence often results in better achievement in school and a greater sense of self worth. I keep my letters (and those of the children) in a notebook, so I can refer to them
Tim, this is such a great idea! Thank you for sharing and for regularly writing your kiddo. 💙😊
The child I sponsor turned in a letter on 02/22/2022 and it still shows on my account as processing. I still, 2 months later have no access to the letter. Please translate the letter already and post it to my account. Also, I just read on one your articles that the processing center shreds letters not written in English. Is that true? I write my sponsored child in Spanish because she is from Nicaragua. Why would she need me to write in English? Please advise. Please check my account and let me know if this child has received my letters, or if they were shredded. I wrote like 9 letters and uploaded pictures also. 09686074 is my sponsor #. Thank you
Leticia, I have replied to your other comment as well here. I completely understand and appreciate your concern for sweet Alani. Thank you for bringing your concerns to our attention so we may help you. I will also send you an email fully addressing all of your questions, but I’m happy to touch on a few points here as well.
I’m so sorry to hear that you have not yet received Alani’s letter that has been in translation since February 22nd. Regrettably, letters have been significantly delayed due to the prolonged effects of the pandemic. Please rest assured that our wonderful field staff and translators are working diligently to process letters as quickly and efficiently as possible. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Because Compassion works in many areas with different dialects, we do not suggest that you write to your child in her native language. However, if you wish to write to Alani in Spanish, we ask that you please include an English version as well. This will allow the translators to provide the child with the most complete and accurate translation. All letters, not just letters written in other languages, are scanned and then shredded after a period of time, and they are all stored in a secure system virtually. If your letters were not accepted by the national office for any reason, we would have notified you.
I look forward to answering all your questions more in-depth in my email. I’m also happy to address any further concerns you may have there. Have a blessed day!
Thank you Jane for the article on Indonesia. I am so blessed to be part of the compassion family, and that our Lord and Savior has picked me to be his conduit to 2 beautiful young children in Indonesia. I write each (brother and sister) every month and now have more specific items to write about. I find it a little difficult writing due to the 2 months it takes to get the letters 2 them, but this will help greatly. My gift and blessing is the return letter that they send to me when they can.
Thank you for the writing ideas. Also thank you for the information on Indonesian holidays. I plan to use your suggestions for topic in writing to my sponsor child. I will pray for you and family. Thank you for all you do .
Happy New Year!
Nice article. For those who sponsor children in INDONESIA, maybe if I am allowed to share some more ideas for 2022:
MAY: The Ascension of Jesus Christ is one of the national holidays here and Christians here will usually go to Church. Also, there will be quite a number of public holidays on May 2022 in Indonesia and I think any children here will be excited about holidays.
JULY : Indonesian Children’s Day on July 23, not a holiday but children may have event at school or Center…or not.
AUGUST : Indonesian Independence Day is on August 17. There are a lot of celebrations all over the country for all people (adults and children). For children: Usually, students will have flag ceremony (singing national anthems, etc.). Students may march together on street (they may practice about marching weeks before). After the formal celebrations, the more informal celebrations start. For children, schools and Centers and neighborhoods may have various traditional competitions. Of course, because of the pandemic, it is hard to do all these celebrations. In 2021, some schools and Centers opted to do competitions like singing, video-making, drawing, and others because those can be done at home too so maybe they’ll do something like these in 2022 too. You can simply asking how the children celebrate it and who knows, the children may answer about various competitions they have (of course, translators may find it a bit difficult to put all those extra notes because of these many traditional competitions but it’s still fun! ~I am a letter translator for Compassion in Indonesia.).
DECEMBER : Mother’s Day in Indonesia on December 22.
Also, in an Indonesian province North Sulawesi, the people (especially Minahasan people) also celebrate a traditional thanksgiving called “Pengucapan”. It is not holiday but it can be a pretty big celebration in the province. It can be fun story to share if your child comes from this province. I think the blog has one interesting article about this so it’s better to read more from the article. ?
Sending love from Indonesia?. God bless you all. Happy blessed new year!
Hi, Jane. Thank you so much for all you do for Compassion Indonesia! ? I am so grateful to be in the Compassion family with you, and thank you for adding these ideas and sharing Indonesian holidays. Blessings and love to you as well!
I like it! Very thoughtful list, I’m going with it!
Thank you for this excellent article. I write to my two sponsored children and six correspondent children and often find myself feeling like I’m just repeating myself, especially as the pandemic has brought a halt to so many of my family’s usual activities. Your idea of using a calendar to plan my letter writing is one I’m going to try to use this year. Happy New Year to you!
Happy New Year, Ann! I am so grateful that our blog was encouraging to you! ? As a sponsor myself, I definitely understand how it can feel like we are repeating ourselves at times during slower seasons; but please know that each letter means so much to your precious kiddo.?