64 Open When Letter Ideas For Your Kids (+Printables)

by Bestow Team | January 07, 2020

As parents, we want to be there for every school play, lost tooth, and upset stomach our kids have. These moments, both big and small, become treasured memories that last far beyond the terrible twos or rebellious teen years.

Building close relationships with our family even makes us healthier by reducing stress, increasing happiness, and leading to a longer life. With “open when” letters, you can strengthen those relationships by leaving a special message for them to read later on. 

Open when letters are notes that you write now for someone to open in the future. They’re commonly used to celebrate big moments like a graduation day or to lift someone up when they aren’t feeling well. However, you can use these letters for any occasion to tell your kids you love them when you aren’t around. Use our open when letter printables and templates to help you create your own thoughtful notes to share down the road.

Table of Contents:

Tips for Writing Open When Letters

Whether they’re going to their first summer camp or moving away for school, your kids deserve an irreplaceable gift that reminds them why you love them. While these letters are meant to be personal, they can be written any way you want.

Set aside some time to write multiple letters for your kids so that you’ve got a sizeable collection for them. That way they have plenty of surprises to open over time.

What to Put in Open When Letters

It’s hard to write down what you want to say in the future, but you know your kids better than anyone. Think about how they’ll feel opening their letter and what they’ll want to hear from you. From encouragement to a good laugh, you know exactly what they need.

Ideas for writing your letters:

  • Tell them a funny story to brighten their day.
  • Include motivational quotes to lift them up.
  • Write down what life is like on the day you’re writing.
  • Share inside jokes or your favorite memory together.

Memorable Items to Put In Your Letters

Your letters can be short, long, funny, or serious just as long as they’re special. They can be nostalgic and fun, but they’re also sure to remind you and your kids how close your relationship is.

Include some of these in your letters to make them extra memorable:

  • Confetti: Nothing says “celebrate” quite like glitter or a confetti surprise.
  • Giftcards: The parental bank keeps on giving. Kids (and adults) of all ages appreciate a little monetary gift. Just make sure they don’t expire!
  • Stickers: Decorate your letter with some fun stickers and send some extras along the way.
  • Postcard: Travel somewhere special? Add a souvenir to your letter for extra context.
  • Old photo: From outdated hair-dos to stylish outfits, leave a special surprise for your kid to find.
  • Childhood drawing: You likely have tons of creations from their younger days. Stick one inside your letter to remind your kid how talented they were.

Letter Ideas for Milestones


No matter how old your kids are, you’ll always be their number one fan. Write a letter to celebrate them when they achieve something big and let them know how special they are to you. Tell them how proud they make you and what next accomplishment you’re looking forward to seeing.

Open When….

  1. You celebrate your birthday
  2. You learn how to ride a bike
  3. You become a big brother or sister
  4. You get your first pet
  5. You start junior high
  6. You lose your first tooth
  7. You go to summer camp
  8. You get an awesome report card
  9. You lock down your first job
  10. You earn your first paycheck
  11. You finish junior high school
  12. You graduate high school
  13. You move out of the house
  14. You get married
  15. You find out you’re expecting
  16. You have a child of your own

Letter Ideas for Encouragement

Your kids will likely go through more than a few rough patches. When you can’t be there in person for them, leave them a comforting note to make them feel better. If they’re feeling under the weather or missing someone special, encourage them and lift them up.

Open When….

  1. You’re having a bad day
  2. You feel like you’ve made a mistake
  3. You aren’t feeling well
  4. You miss your mom
  5. You miss your dad
  6. You miss your ________
  7. You’re stressed
  8. You lose your family pet
  9. You feel like you’ve failed
  10. You feel lonely
  11. You have your first break up
  12. You feel disappointed
  13. You’re worried
  14. You feel like giving up
  15. You don’t think you can forgive someone
  16. You need a hug

Letter Ideas for College Students


It’s a big deal when your kids are leaving the house for the first time. Whether they’re moving a short drive away or hours in another direction, not having them under your roof is a big change. College allows them more independence, but you can’t always be there to help them figure things out on their own. Send your student off with some pre-written letters so you’ll always be with them for support and encouragement.

Open When….

  1. You spend your first night on your own
  2. You get lost
  3. You take your first big exam
  4. You check your grades
  5. You’re feeling homesick
  6. You’re low on cash
  7. You need to treat yourself
  8. You’ve had a rough day
  9. You need a study break
  10. You’re not home for the holidays
  11. You’ve had a really great day
  12. You want to talk to me
  13. You miss my cooking
  14. You’re stressed about finals
  15. You’ve just finished your last class
  16. You’re putting on your graduation cap and gown

Letter Ideas for Any Occasion

You don’t need a special occasion to tell your kids how important they are to you. Share a funny story or tell them your favorite memory to spread the love whenever they need it. Use these “just because” open when ideas to write down whatever is one your mind.

Open When….

  1. Now
  2. Just because
  3. You want a surprise
  4. You need a good laugh
  5. You want to hear how your parents met
  6. You want to learn a secret
  7. You receive good news
  8. You want to go down memory lane
  9. You can’t sleep
  10. You need a pep talk
  11. You want to hear an embarrassing story
  12. You’re bored
  13. You’re watching a thunderstorm
  14. You’re excited about something
  15. You’re hungry
  16. You need to know how much I love you

Open when letters make sure you’re there for your kids when you physically can’t be. Through the ups and downs, each day is a new chance to connect with your kids and make memories you’ll treasure tomorrow. Jot down those special moments and share them with your kids so you can hold onto them for years to come. Find out more ways Bestow can help you and your family prepare for the future with our plans.