Do your kids write thank you notes?
Try these six ideas...

Groan! Should kids write thank you notes? It's such a hassle! I am one of those old school people who really believes it's an important skill for kids to learn. Writing thank you notes takes some time, but I think it's important for kids to acknowledge the gifts that they receive. My grandmother always said, “if you can write your name on the back of the check I sent you, you can sign your name at the bottom of a thank you card.”

So let's talk about how to make it easier.

    1. Have supplies on hand

    Go to the dollar store or to a craft store and stock up on either premade thank you cards or blank ones. Make sure you have your address book handy.

    2. Have everyone do it at the same time

    During the holidays at least, you have thank yous to write also, right? Take over the kitchen table, put on some music and make it a family effort.

    3. Make it fun and creative

    This wouldn't work for everyone, but I personally prefer the blank cards that you can decorate with drawings or even stamps and stickers. Making it more of a crafty project (even with the extra time and mess) means kids grumble less over the actual writing part.

    4. Consider a gradual approach to gift opening

    This is a major breach against holiday and birthday tradition, but in our family it works super well.

    For birthdays, we don't open presents at the actual party. As you are well aware, it turns into pandemonium. Furthermore, are my kids the only ones who like to actually play with something before it's yanked out of their hands and replaced with another? I doubt it. By slowing down and taking the time to appreciate each gift, kids are more likely to remember who gave it to them.

    If we have a lot of presents at Christmastime, we sometimes adopt a gradual gift opening approach. What?!? Open some presents before Christmas? Yes, that's what I said. The morning of December 25th can be not only pandemonium, but an absolute orgy of materialism. We like to stretch out the joy and the fun.

    5. Write the notes as you go

    Another real benefit of the gradual opening approach is that you have some purchase over your kids. After opening a present, the kids write thank you notes for it. The sooner they write it, the sooner they can open another one. See the beauty?

    6. Remember age appropriate expectations

    If your kids aren't reading just yet or can't write yet, just let them draw a little something. If they're just sounding things out, help them write their version of "Dear whoever, thank you for the whatever" and then their name. As they get older, they can add to it, but remember that this is not the time for writing instruction or criticizing spelling. The goal is to get kids doing this without your input. It doesn't need to be (and shouldn't be) perfect.

Having kids write thank you notes is another one of those important life skills. There are times in life where a thank you note is expected, even in this technological day and age. Think job interviews or wedding presents. Instilling in your child an intrinsic expectation now will help shape them as adults too. Try some or all of these five tips to make it not only easy, but fun too! Good luck!

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