Your Kids Can Send Thank You Notes
And Learn Good Social Skills
Many people believe that the tradition of sending thank you notes is a lost art. They lament that they seldom receive a thank you, especially from their own children and grandchildren. Often, our children do not realize how much we cherish those personal messages, especially when so much correspondence these days comes in the form of email. With a few of the tips below, however, your children can learn to be gracious and polite whenever they receive a gift.
As a grandmother with six grandchildren ranging in age from one to twenty, I have saved many of the thoughtful notes that I have received from them over the years. Most of our grandchildren live a long way from us, and we look for ways to communicate with these distant grandchildren. Fortunately over the years, even the youngest children have sent me notes of appreciation for holiday and birthday gifts, and I treasure those cute little messages. Learning to send thank you notes is such a wonderful habit to teach young children, and the friend or relative receiving these handmade notes will find them delightful!
Thank You Notes from Kids
Children are not born knowing about thank you cards. Someone has to teach them how to write them. This requires that the parents make a priority out of being thoughtful. However, no good comes from a stern attitude about how the child needs to sit down right now and write grandma a note. The child often has no idea what to say. When children feel uncomfortable, they are going to postpone, complain, whine and do everything possible to get out of the chore.
One way to get children to enjoy sending cards is to make it a family activity. If the parents sit at the kitchen table with the kids, everyone will have much more fun. Make some snacks to enjoy while you are all working. Give them tips on what to say. Share your own notes with the kids. It can turn into a fun evening together.
Remember that when a child sends a card, it does not need to be elaborate. If the child is young, Mom will still have to address the envelope and mail the it for them. Let the message inside come straight from the child.
If the child has difficulty writing, and hates sending notes to people, there are a few ways you can make it easier for them to send notes without having a melt-down. One way is to buy prepackaged cards that have a message already written inside. All they need do is sign them and, perhaps, add a little phrase such as "thanks for the video game!" In that way, they have acknowledged that they received the gift, without being required to write several original sentences.
If you do not like the prepackaged card idea, you could also get ones that are blank inside, and let the kids copy down a message that you have written out on a separate piece of paper. Although this is more work for both the parents and the child, it does get the child into the habit of writing a note, and it helps them to begin to memorize what should be said in their messages.
Creative Thank You Notes from Baby or a Toddler
Even very young children can participate in the ritual of sending thank you messages. The younger they are when they get involved in the process, the more likely they are to want to continue to write them as they get older. Do not worry if they are not old enough to write. There are plenty of alternative ways they can show their appreciation for gifts they have received.
Hand-drawn pictures are a popular way to create a special thank you note. Any type of drawing will be perfect. Your child will be thrilled to send their retired grandparents, or their Aunt Sally a picture that he drew himself! If he isn't sure what to draw, suggest he draw a picture of himself playing with the gift he received. If that is too hard, suggest he draw a picture of the Christmas tree or his birthday cake.
If your child is too young even to draw, another thoughtful type of thank you message from the child is to send a photo of the child holding the gift. Our daughters have often sent us these types of photos, on behalf of their kids, when their children were tiny! For the receiver of the thank you note, it is a delight to get another photo of the child they love. It is also fun to see a photo of the little ones actually playing with the gift, especially if the child far away.
When your child is a little older, they may want to take their own photos of the gifts they receive. This is especially fun for the child who just received a new camera for their birthday, or for a child who doesn't like to draw! In fact, even older children may enjoy simply taking a photo of their gifts, and writing a brief thank you on the back of the photo. It is a quick and easy way to get a recalcitrant child to send a note, when they really don't want to.
Thank You Notes for Teenagers
Eventually, as they get older, your children will be in the habit of sending messages to friends and family members for their gifts. Once they reach their teens, you can give them each a package of their own cards and a list of addresses of relatives to help make their note writing easier. If you have gotten them in the habit of sending notes when they were young, they will usually keep it up as they get older. Of course, it is still a good idea to gather the family together to write notes once in a while. Even teens frequently need help staying on track.
Eventually, some teenagers may ask for permission to send e-mailed messages. Teens are often more comfortable dealing with all their communications by text or email. Although many members of the older generation prefer to receive the hand written notes, with teenagers it is best to be flexible. An e-mail is better than no note at all! Be appreciative of any effort they make in sending notes to their relatives. In fact, you may consider signing them up with one of the online gift card companies. The email addresses can be added into the company's system, along with reminder dates for birthdays and other special occasions. Then, all the teen has to do is have a little fun picking out the perfect e-card, and send it off with one easy click. Many of these notes are so charming that even grandma will love them!
If you have children in your home, you may also be interested in reading one of these articles:
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