Teach your child to understand the importance of a thank you note.
Of course we want to raise our children to have the best manners, but somewhere along the way writing thank you notes turned into a nagging chore that children loathe. However, teaching children to understand the importance of a thank you note is key in childhood etiquette.
Thankfulness should start from the very beginning, like when teaching your child the basics of please and thank you. Next comes the art of gratitude -true appreciation for any gift or act of kindness, and the sharing of this sentiment with a handwritten note. Emily Post’s rule of thumb is “a gift should be acknowledged with the same courtesy and generous spirit in which it was given.”
In the spirit of gratitude, explain to your child the idea behind a thank you note – it lets the person know that you very much enjoyed their thoughtful sentiment and it has arrived safely if it was shipped. A thank-you note you write TO your child for a gift or gesture can help illustrate the point, as well as a discussion about how this made THEM feel to receive it.
Encourage your child to be creative with their writing, and to explain why they loved the gift so much and what makes it special. If the gift was money or a gift card, go into detail about what they plan to use the money towards or for.
Children should learn the habit of sending out thank you cards promptly, preferably in the same week that they received their gift. But remember – better late then never. If you’re daughter has 45 thank you cards to write from a large birthday party, set realistic expectations and break up the thank you notes into 5 a day until they are finished.
Teach your child to be authentically gracious. If the gift wasn’t their favorite, focus on the aspects they do like in the thank you note. For example if the gift is an ugly pink sweater, they could write “You remembered my favorite color is pink and how perfect for winter coming up.”
Finally, make thank you writing fun! Let your child pick out fun cards and envelopes or design their own personalized stationary. Better yet, bust out the art supplies and let them get creative with designing their own.