How to Write Letters to Teenagers

What do I say? How do I begin? What should I ask?

All questions that run through your mind the first time you write to the newest member of your family. Developing a meaningful long-distance relationship through letters with 5- to 10-year-olds isn’t very complicated at first.

Tell them you love them, tell them God loves them, tell them you are proud of them. Send them stickers, coloring pages, and photographs of your family. Repeat often!

letters to teenagers

But as any parent knows, as those little ones develop into teenagers and young adults, your communication style needs to change.

Yes, we still need to tell them we love them, God loves them, and we are proud of them. Sometimes, in some cultures, a sponsor is the first person to tell a sponsored child that he or she is loved. We can combat the lies of poverty with our words every time we write to our sponsored children.

However, in addition to the letters, many sponsors want to know what is appropriate to mail to their older sponsored children.

So this month, we are launching a new Pinterest board we hope you all will enjoy: Letter Writing to Teens.

It’s filled with inspiration and ideas on how to write letters to teenagers. A few examples:

letters to teenagers girls

One thing we need to remember as our sponsored children grow older is that they still appreciate the letters.

Don’t believe me? Listen to these Compassion alumni as they share letter-writing advice and how much they still appreciate what their sponsors wrote.

Follow the Letter Writing to Teens board on Pinterest for more inspiration for your letters!


Want to help us find more ideas for mailing to our older sponsored children? Be sure to follow us on Pinterest and ask to become a member of our Second Friday Letter Writing Club board. Many sponsors are helping us find great ideas each month!

9 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Avatar
    Margaret Reed May 25, 2016

    Oh my, what wonderful tips these are, especially for teens. My young guy has just turned 16, and I was beginning to feel awkward at what to put into his letters, that would be of interest to a young man of his age.
    After reviewing your material, I think it will be much easier to write Dominique, send scripture, ask intelligent, but not “dumb” questions of his day to day activities, and let him know how very much he is cared for.
    Thank you for these wise tips. I’m anxious to communicate with my far away youngster now, and rather than dread eye-roll that I used to see in my own son at a letter from his elderly grandma, I hope he actually enjoys the letter, thanks to your excellent tips. Thank you very much!
    Margaret Reed

  2. Avatar
    Peggy Cavnar February 26, 2015

    Thanks for your reply. Please pray we can find a place to live that is nice and clean and the right price for us. Paul will retire in a couple years.I am disabled so we need a place that can accommodate me.
    I get exhausted easily after the pneumonia and having Meniere’s disease and fibromyalgia. Packing is hard on me so pray I get it done fast and God sends me some helpers. Kisses to Escarleth. We love her.

    1. Emily Vanhoutan
      Emily Vanhoutan February 26, 2015

      We are standing with you in prayer Peggy! I have shared your story with our prayer ministry team. God is preparing a home for you and your husband and I pray that He would lead and guide you as you make your decision and search for a location! I also pray that you would continue to recover and that you’d be restored to your full health! God bless you!

  3. Avatar
    Peggy Cavnar February 22, 2015

    I love Compassion and our “daughter” as we call her. This website is perfect. We have sponsored Escarleth Yulian Reyes Perez in Honduras. She is Child number HO-311-0562. Would you please tell her I had pneumonia with a cough for 9 months and felt too unwell to write and buy her cute things. She is really pretty. I will try to send her some photos of us before we move. We will still be in Reno so we will update you on our new address and phone number. Peggy 3293184-6

    1. Emily Vanhoutan
      Emily Vanhoutan February 24, 2015

      Hi Peggy! I am so sorry to hear that you had pneumonia for such a long period of time. I certainly understand that you were not feeling well enough to write to your child and I pray that you’re continuing to recover and that you regain your strength!

      Regrettably, we are unable to send a letter to your child on your behalf to tell Escarleth that you were ill and unable to write. You did mention however, that you will be sending your girl a letter soon. I want to encourage you that you’re welcome to mention this to her yourself in your next letter to her if you wish to explain why she had not received a letter from you for a while. I know she will be so excited to hear from you and we appreciate your continued love and support for your girl!

      I also pray that your move goes well and when you contact us with your new address, we will be happy to update your account. Please know that you can also do this through your My Account on http://www.compassion.com and by clicking ‘Account Settings’ on the left side of the page. God bless you!

  4. Avatar
    Sharlene Immel February 13, 2015

    Yvonne, thanks for sharing this. The video of the 4 alumni was especially good. I didn’t have time to look at everything, but I definitely will check out the rest later. Thanks again.

    1. Avatar
      Yvonne Reynolds February 16, 2015

      Sharlene, I am glad you had a chance to watch the video! The alumni say it better than any of us can, our letters to them mean so much!

  5. Avatar
    Dara February 13, 2015

    Thanks for this! I have a few kids who are around 13 and these are helpful tips 🙂

    1. Avatar
      Yvonne Reynolds February 13, 2015

      Dara, you are welcome! Hopefully this new board will be a good reference for sponsors with teenage sponsored children 🙂

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