Gestures Of Appreciation: the simple Thank-You note

There are many ways to encourage children to write thank-you notes, writes Kathy Sena.

The birthday party is over, the kids are happily exhausted and full of cake—and you can pat yourself on the back for pulling off a successful celebration. It’s time to put your feet up and relax. But then you remember… It will soon be time to write thank-you notes. (And no, you’re not the only mum who puts her foot down and declares, “You can’t play with that toy until you write the thank-you note!”)

Yes, getting kids to write thank-you notes without whining, procrastinating and generally driving you batty can be challenging. But with these suggestions, you’ll not only help your child create good lifelong habits, but you might also have a lot of fun.

Start A Tradition

Trace your child’s hand on some cardboard and cut it out to make a thank-you card. Be sure to include the date. Family and friends will look forward to watching the note increase in size with each birthday.

Help Younger Kids Get Creative

Purchase colourful notepaper, pens, glitter, stickers and stamps and help little ones make their own thank-you cards. The recipients will treasure the original works of art as much as the message.

Go High-tech

Older kids can use computer software to design and write their own notes. Such software gives them myriad ideas for graphics and fonts – even the ability to create their own monograms.

Think Of The Recipient

When you receive thank-you notes from other people, put them on your table so everyone can look at them during mealtimes. Read them and talk about what you gave and what the person said. This process will remind the kids of what it is like to be the recipient when they are writing thank-you notes. Hopefully, that will encourage them to put a little extra effort into their notes.
Make It Personal
After receiving cash or gift cards (an increasingly popular option once kids turn 10 or so) send a note that focused on the people giving the gift, not on the gift itself. Kids could also mention how they plan to spend the gift.

Play Show And Tell

Ask younger children to draw a big heart on some cardboard. Write “Thank you!” in bold letters inside the heart. Take a picture of your child holding the ‘card’ in front of them, and then write a quick note to include with the photo. Let older kids create their own ‘photo shoot’, which might include the recipient holding or using the gift.

Illustrations by Kim Fleming