Kids and Thank you Notes

I make my kids write thank you notes. I think it’s important. They think it’s a waste of time.

I believe it’s become a lost art to write a note of thanks when you receive a gift or when someone has helped you in some way. People often take the easy way out by sending an email or a quick text to express their gratitude (if the send anything at all). While any way you say thanks is important, I think the ability to express your appreciation in a few handwritten words or sentences can mean so much to the recipient. You’ve gone the extra mile to say thank you in a way that means so much more than just a quick text. It is a gesture of thanks to the nth degree.

My kids have been writing thank you notes since they first learned how to spell their name. They weren’t able to write the whole note (I did that for them), but they had to sign their name and draw a picture. As they’ve gotten older, they’ve taken on the whole task themselves and now compose their own notes of thanks. There is still the occasional, “what do I wriiiiiite?” but they’ve got the hang of it. Besides emphasizing a little bit of etiquette , it also provides another reason to practise their penmanship and spelling.

Here are some easy tips to follow when writing thank you cards with your kids.

  • You need a greeting. You can start with just the name of the person or make it more formal and start with “Dear”. Make sure you spell names correctly!
  •  Say thank you. You could open with “I wanted to express my thanks…” or “Thank you for your kindness…” or “I appreciate you taking the time…”.
  • Highlight the importance of your gift or how it might be used. For example, “The new sweater is just what I needed for the skiing trip we have planned this year.” or “I can’t wait to try one of the recipes in the new cookbook.” or “With your help, the move to our new home was much less stressful.”
  • Close out the note and reiterate your thanks. You might say, “It was wonderful to see you over the holidays. Thanks again for thinking of me.” Consider your note like a sandwich – you have a piece of bread at the top ( your greeting) and at the bottom (reiterating your thanks). The middle is the thank you and the importance of the gift – all the meat!

My take is this. If someone took the time to buy you a gift or something kind for you, then the least you can do is write a note of thanks.


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