Thursday, December 27, 2012

Why it is Important Your Children Write Thank Yous

 For some reason, it seems as if this generation of kids has gotten away from writing thank-yous for gifts.  Maybe we, as parents, didn't have to write thank-yous.  Maybe we think a verbal thank-you is sufficient.  Whatever the reason, not having your child write thank-yous can lead to a sense of entitlement.  It could lead to thoughts such as, "It's my birthday, so I deserve a present" or "It's Christmas.  Grandparents should give me gifts."  

By having your child write a thank you, they lose the sense of entitlement.  It helps them to understand that it isn't all about them, but also about the giver, who carefully chose a gift for them.  It allows your child to think of the other person.  

There are other benefits of having your child write a thank you note.  Writing the note helps a child to think and put into words how they feel about the gift.  This has a two-fold benefit; it helps them to appreciate their gift more and it also helps with their writing skills.  Writing a thank-you note is also more hand writting practice and spelling practice for your child, especially important while they are on break from school.  Children also learn the basics of letter writing and envelope addressing; important skills for later in life.

So, how do we help our children write thank yous?  For some kids, they would rather have their teeth pulled than write a thank you.  For others, they are very young and can't write yet.  Still others are willing, but lack the skills.  Here are some tips for you.

  • For small children, have them draw a picture specifically for the giver.  This teaches them to think about the other person.  Encourage them to draw something they think the giver would like.  If they are too small to draw, grab the finger paints or watercolors and have them make a painting.  Or have them cut picture from magazines or old Christmas cards to make a collage picture to send.
  • For children a bit older who can write some, purchase or type up a fill in the blank card.  For example, "Dear __________, Thank you for the ____________.  I love it because __________."  Have your child fill in the blanks and then add a drawing to decorate the page.
  • For school age children who can write, teach them the basics of writing a thank you (Dear name comma, next line).  You can teach them to follow a basic format of saying thank you for the gift, then telling why they like it.  If it is a cash gift or gift card, teach them to write what they bought or plan to buy or do with it.  
  • Only have your child write one or two thank-yous at a time if they they are feeling frustrated or feel like you are absolutely torturing them.
  • Have your child write thank yous soon after they receive the gift.  They are in much more appreciative moods then.  
  • No matter what the age, let your child be creative in writing thank-yous.  This year, my girls took old cards and cut out pictures they liked to glue them on card stock that they wrote their notes on. When they were younger, they used finger paints to make hand-prints on thank-yous.
Expect that your children will give you a bit of grief, especially if you are just starting out with your thank-yous.  But over time, your children will come to expect to write thank-yous and it will get much easier!

1 comment:

Amy said...

Thanks for sharing this. We do write thank yous and have started on ours already. The kids could not do more than three or so at a time but we are almost done! I am a bit of a procrastintor so I wanted to get started right after Christmas this year. I think I got them out by July last year..LOL People were looking at me like... What is this for! :-) But I think expressing our thanks in written form is very important.

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