When I started creating notes for my daughter over 2-and-a-half years ago, I thought after the first week I would run out of ideas. In fact, one of the reasons I started posting these sketches online was to see if anyone else was doing something similar and I could gain inspiration from others. And yes, not surprisingly, there are all kinds of talented individuals making notes. I thought if I could craft notes for at least one month, I could write about some common themes so others could be inspired to start their own tradition. Well, 999 days later, here I am posting what I found to be the best ways to come up with lunch note ideas. As they say, better late than never. So, without further ado, here are the 7 subjects I rely on to help me create notes everyday that are sure to keep my kids feeling special.
Holidays provide the quickest form of inspiration for a lunch note. Simply type in the date in a Google search and you’ll be served with every possible holiday—recognized or not—from which you can write a note. Of course, the big holidays are well known. But did you know that January 9th is National Static Electricity Day? What about National Pretzel Day on April 26th or Talk Like A Pirate Day on September 19th? The beauty of looking up random holidays is that it doesn’t matter if any of the holidays you find are actually real. The idea is to simply get inspiration for coming up with a note.
Examples: “Stick with love (MLK Day)”“I’m thankful for YOU (Thanksgiving)” “Arrrrr you ready to learn? (Talk Like A Pirate Day)” “Eggcelent (Easter)”
2. Current events
There is no shortage of news on any given day. So, look at your local newspaper, website, or news station and you’ll be sure to find something to spark an idea. There was a recent cold-spell up-and-down the East Coast where the term ‘bomb cyclone’ was added to our family’s vocabulary. The extreme cold led to a note about thinking warm thoughts that the kids loved. If you go the current events route, my recommendation would be to find the good or funny subjects in the news. It’s important to remember who your audience is. If it’s anything like my audience—children under 7—I’m just trying to make them smile.
Examples: “Love. Not hate. (Charlottesville protests)”“Lead with dignity (Inauguration Day)” “My cup runneth over (Stanley Cup championship)” “Gotta love the universe (eclipse)”
3. School & home activities
My daughter has a calendar of events and activities that are planned throughout the year. Anything from field trips to book fairs make for good subjects. She also has a rolling schedule of one-day-a-week classes she looks forward to. For instance, when it’s library day for her class, she looks forward to checking out the books. A note about reading or imagination makes for good content. She also looks forward to art day and music day, also two subjects that can provide great inspiration.
I also find inspiration in the things we have going on at home. If we plan to go out to dinner, have a birthday party, or will be playing outside, I create notes that speak to those activities.
Examples: “Try something new (food-related)” “Good luck! You got this! (Standardized testing)” “School’s out for summer (first day of summer break)”
4. Words of wisdom
Is there some life lesson you want to teach your child? Do they need a little reminder to be kind or do good? Create a note that will serve as a subtle reminder and it could be the start of a bigger conversation with him or her.
Do you have something going on at work that might provide inspiration? Maybe you are looking to become a better leader or are experiencing organizational change. I have found that my professional life often has me learning new things, so looking at your own experiences can open opportunities to share a little wisdom with your child.
Examples: “Get out there and hustle”“Be a leader” “Be respectful”
5. Let them know…
If you are creating your note for your child, then if you’re anything like me as a parent, I want to tell them to always remember a handful of things. I always want to remind my kids to smile. Smiling can be contagious and can pave the way to building relationships. I also want my kids to know that I love them. Even in the midst of a busy day at school, I think it’s important to remind them that they have loving parents and a support network at home that is always available for hugs and kisses. Finally, if they got a new haircut, or are wearing a fun new outfit, you can let them know you love it by creating a note for them to find in their lunchbox.
Examples: “You’re the best” “I love you to the moon and back” “Oh happy day!”
6. Be silly
When you are in a fun mood, be silly. A jovial note from time to time can provide an unexpected surprise. When the note my kids get is something silly, the topic often makes for good conversation at the dinner table or on the drive home after school. The great thing about being silly is that there are really no rules. Whatever fun thing comes to mind can make for a great note.
I have also found that puns and jokes can be sources of inspiration. A quick internet search yields all kinds of ideas for silly notes.
Examples: “You quack me up”“Pugs and kisses” “Bounce”
7. Just say hi
When all else fails, just create a quick note to say hello to let them know you’re thinking about them.
Examples: “Have a super day” “I can’t wait for a hug” “I love you!”
If you still struggle coming up with ideas, you can follow Lunch Note Sketch on any one of the social platforms to get a daily dose of inspiration. Find us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Hopefully one of the sketches I've completed over the last 999 days will give you something from which to pull. And please share what you create by tagging your work with #LunchNoteSketch.
Remember, spending just a few minutes writing a note to your child can have a huge impact. Let them know they’re loved!