Long distance friendships are a different affair for our children than they were for us. When kids can connect from across the world in an instant through multiple media, what reason would any child have for writing letters, much less waiting by the mailbox for one? What is the value of letter writing in the age of video-chat, texting, and social media? For young children, especially, there are numerous benefits and much appeal to trading notes with friends across distances via the good old postal service. Among them:

It’s good writing practice. Learning to express oneself fluently in writing is important in every respect. Kids who are motivated to write out of friendship and for fun are getting that much more
practice.

Letters call for patience. A lot of recent research on achievement focuses on kids’ ability to delay gratification and to stick with tasks even though they may not see immediate results.

Putting thoughts on paper requires more reflection than whipping off an email or text, and helps kids organize their own thinking.

The slow and steady nature of a pen pal relationship can help kids begin to understand that friendship is not only about fun in the here and now, but can take many forms, and transcend time and space. #schoolasummer