Disciplinary Tactic: Handwritten Notes

Recently, I discovered a neat little tactic that works a real treat for gaining the cooperation of my wily child. It happened quite by accident but I thought it was too good not to share.

Aristotle had developed a bad habit of sending his sandwich crusts home without eating them. I got a little tired of it so I wrote him a message and taped it to his lunch box. The message read:

Dear Aristotle,

Please finish your sandwich crusts.

Love, Mummy.

I honestly wasn’t expecting any compliance but I figured I had to try. That day, he came home with only a small piece of crust left. The next day and the days after that, his lunch box came home empty. Aristotle was eating his crusts!

While talking to a friend, she explained that this was a method recommended in the book “How to Talk so Kids will Listen & Listen so Kids will Talk“. The reason behind this is because children love messages and are generally more willing to act on them. Apparently it works even if your child cannot read because he will see the message and want to know what it says.

They say that talk is cheap. So perhaps messages are perceived to have greater value and more important, therefore more notice is paid? Whatever the case, I’m totally sold on this one. So the next time I’m trying to correct a behaviour, I’m going to try writing another note to Aristotle…

If you have tried this method before, or are inspired to try it after reading this post, please share your results (positive and negative) in the comments below. It would be interesting to see how well children respond to this method across the board.

I’ve also noticed that Aristotle has been a bit down lately with Hercules celebrating his second birthday. Perhaps he’s feeling a little sensitive from reduced attention? I’ve tried to make up for it by telling him how much he matters to me even if it seems like I’m busy with other things. Perhaps a handwritten note would convey the message more clearly?

Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of Figur8.net (a website on parenting, education, child development) and RightBrainChild.com (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

4 thoughts on “Disciplinary Tactic: Handwritten Notes

  1. I see this method very educating for my son, OK, he doesn`t read a lot yet, but what you say to him, he will do it, sometimes he says “no I will not do that” but in most cases he is listening and then he gets a reward.



  2. Cant say how effective handwritten notes on my daughter cause lately she was disinterested to do up all her abacus math sums, so I left several notes to her and guess what! She finished up all her sums in a given time…..and she creatively replied my notes too…..thanks to enlighten me with options like this, at least I know notes work besides nagging worries.


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