Lunch Box Notes: The Bridge to Building Relationships and Confidence


With the return of school comes the return of lunch box notes in our house. It has been a tradition since our girls started school. Sometimes, they receive a hand-written letter for a special occasion. Other days, it’s a pre-printed or store-bought note. But every day, it’s a gesture of love. 

Who wouldn’t want an affirmation of love in the middle of the day?

Sometimes, I’m on top of things and plan the notes out for the week. Other days, it’s a last minute thought as I, not so discreetly, slip in a note as they’re walking out the door. Regardless, each day when my girls open their lunchboxes, they find a note and know I’m thinking about them. If I wish them good luck on a test, they might give an extra effort knowing that I believe in them. If they’re having a bad day, a loving message might be a salve to a wound. A reminder to be kind might prompt them to make room at their table for the new kid, or to include someone in conversation they might not otherwise think about. Sometimes, I give them a task or challenge, like perform a random act of kindness, or compliment your teacher.

Children with affectionate mothers have a larger hippo-campus.

A study done at Washington University in St. Louis said that children with affectionate mothers have a larger hippo-campus, which is a part of the brain that controls memory, learning capabilities and responses to stress. This daily communication is one of many ways to nurture our children to build their brains and prepare them for life. 

They let me know if I forget.

As my girls have gotten older, I periodically wonder if the notes matter to them anymore. I get my answer on the occasion I forget. It’s the first thing they tell me when they get home.

My oldest is in junior high now and still expects a daily note. While she doesn’t beam about it while unloading her lunch box at the end of the day like she did when she started school, she still appreciates receiving it. She looks for the sentiment as she digs through her food while chatting with her friends at school.

The pre-teen and teen years are a great time for positive affirmation. 

You remember those awkward years filled with self-doubt? I sure do. I certainly could have used more positive thinking back then. When kids can be not so nice and peer pressure abounds, some self affirmation might be just what your child needs in the middle of the day. Therefore, I make an effort to supply my girls with it. When I think of positive affirmation, my mind goes to that great Saturday Night Live skit, “I’m good enough. I’m smart enough. And doggone it, people like me.” How can you not smile when reading or thinking that? 

Whether your child is in kindergarten and you’re still wiping tears at drop off, or your child is a teen and you breathe a sigh when she walks out the door in the morning, there are great benefits to enclosing a note in your child’s lunchbox:

  • Helps with literacy and learning to read
  • Shows unconditional love
  • Improves communications skills
  • Models thoughtfulness
  • Provides a talking point at the lunch table

Whether hand writing your notes or searching for them online, here are some ideas to add variety and to keep your notes fresh:

  • Follow your child’s school schedule to mention important events
  • Holiday themes
  • Jokes
  • Strange facts
  • Scripture
  • Trivia
  • Positive Affirmations 

Oh, and don’t forget to include a note with your husband’s lunch every now and then. He could use some love and affirmation, too. 🙂

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Erin is a Colorado native who loves both the mountains and the plains. She was an elementary school teacher until she did something she said she’d never do: marry an Army guy. Not only did she fall in love with him, she fell in love with the military life, and continues to write about it. Now she’s a stay-at-home mom to two amazing girls, though she’s rarely found at home. Erin is active in her community and church, is a former PTO President, and currently serves as Vice President of the Colorado Springs chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers. She believes in second chances, and is thankful for hers. She was thrilled to remain in Colorado Springs upon her husband’s retirement from the Army, and counts herself lucky to watch the sun set behind Cheyenne Mountain every evening. Erin enjoys reading, gardening, hiking, and any time spent with her family.


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