While many parents may think thank you notes are outdated, they are not. Teaching kids good manners means showing them that the thank you note is something important in our society. By neglecting these notes, you may unintentionally be telling those who have attended your children’s parties that their gifts were not appreciated.

When to Send a Thank You Note

Anytime a child receives a gift for a birthday, graduation, quinceanera, bar or bat mitzvah or a mailed gift from extended family or friends, you should send a thank you note. Some etiquette guides do not recommend sending them for holidays like Christmas or Chanukah, so that is a personal choice you can make with your own family. Send thank you notes as soon as possible following receiving the gift, though if you send them more than a month later the note may be considered late. Thank you notes are especially important if your child did not open gifts at their birthday party and the gift giver did not get to hear “thank you” in person.

Simplify Thank You Notes from Kids

Do not expect young children to write lengthy, formal thank you notes. Depending on your child’s age, cater to their abilities when writing the notes. Some notes are pre-printed and all your child has to do is fill in the gift giver’s name, the type of gift and their own name. You can also simply get a blank card, attach a photo of your child opening the gift from the recipient and have your child write “thank you” and their name. Simplifying thank you notes from kids this way does not mean that the note is less powerful to the recipient. By starting to send thank you notes when children are just beginning to build handwriting and spelling skills shows them that no excuse should derail them from sending thank you notes in the future.

Ways to Make Your Thank You Special

Teaching good manners for kids is not just about sending the thank you note, but also about making it special if possible. If you took photos at the event, include a photo of your child and the child that will receive the thank you note. Parents who craft or scrapbook can integrate those skills to send a mini keepsake and have a fun project to do with the child instead of just sending a plain thank you note. Thank you notes can also go with goody bags that might have been forgotten at the party venue, helping reinforce good manners for kids. Your child not only gets to hand out the thank you notes personally, but they can also be involved in any of the ways you make that thank you special. Even if your child only identifies the friends in the pictures you enclose with thank you notes, they will learn that it is important to say thank you in a special and memorable way.