As a nanny, you are probably always looking for more ways to keep your charges busy, entertained and away from the dreaded screens. Writing letters to a pen pal may seem old fashioned, but it really can be an exciting venture for young kids. As well as being brilliant fun, a letter to a pen friend is a wonderful way for your charges to get creative, to improve their reading and handwriting skills - and perhaps even to practise a new language.
As well as the inherent excitement which comes with receiving, opening and reading a letter (as long as it’s not a bill) writing letters to pen friends can be rewarding in the long term. A good pen pal can be a friend for life - perhaps one day your charge will be able to visit his or her pen pal in their native country. So help them to take the first step in what could be a beautiful, budding friendship now!
This should be quite easy. Ask your charge: How would you feel about having a friend in a different country? Would you like to have a little boy or girl you can write to who will write back to you? You can send each other pictures, and tell each other about your lives. One day you may even be able to visit one another! Hopefully, the child you care for will be enthusiastic about the idea - so...
The easiest way to do this these days is online. You can visit one great site to find a pen friend here. Of course, you will have to discuss with your charge whether they would prefer to write to a boy or a girl, to choose an appropriate age group (probably the same age as your charge works best), and to have an idea of which country your charge’s pen friend may be located in.
If you don’t want to follow the website route, think about who you know in foreign countries who may have connections with a school. You can also easily post in international nanny or teaching groups on Facebook, a surefire way to connect with thousands of teachers whose students would love to have somebody to write to. There are more useful tips on where to find a pen friend on this site, too.
Be aware of local postal conditions - letters in Europe will be easier to send and faster than those in countries with slower logistics, or smaller cities. You will also have to think about language. Of course, it is great to encourage cross-cultural interaction and you should have no trouble finding kids living abroad who want to study English. On the other hand, if you are a language governess and your child is studying French, Spanish, German or another language at school, this could be an opportunity for them to improve their own language skills too.
You and your charge can spend time writing, decorating your letter and choosing and printing appropriate photographs. Encourage your charge to write a fun letter with lots of colour and detail, depending on their age group, telling their new pen friend all about his/her life. If you are a nanny, manny or working in childcare (as opposed to a parent) make sure you check with your charge's parents that the photos are OK to send. Maybe your charge can show his/her new pen pal which arts and crafts they've been up to with their nanny! It may help to get them to think from their pen pal’s perspective to help them focus on writing a great letter - what sort of letter would they like to get back?
So there you have it! 3 easy steps to finding a pen pal! And just in case you’re not totally sold on the idea yet, you can find more about the benefits of having a pen friend here. Have fun!
If you are an agency then sign up to post on Jobs in Childcare to connect with the best candidates worldwide!