“Why Your Kids Should Write Thank You Cards”
Your kids have ripped their presents opened, tussled through gift bags, and played with their toys. You’ve stored the clothes in the closet and tucked gift money into their savings. And after the hum of the season or birthday has passed, you realize now is an appropriate time to write thank you cards. But before you scribble off your stack of cards, consider having your kids write them instead. The benefits are plenty enough:
The benefits of writing thank you cards:
• Your kids learn gratitude. Kids learn the true value of the thought behind the gesture. Much less important is the actual gift than the effort others put forth in remembering and selecting a gift. Even if someone didn’t give a gift but, say, attended a party, that person should still be given a card to honor their presence at your child’s celebration.
• Thank you cards make others feel good. Personally, I love receiving thank you cards, if only as proof that my gift was received (because sometimes you wonder whether your gift bag was lost in the jumble or your present lost in the mail!). Givers will feel good for having made someone’s day, or perhaps for selecting a great gift. A card coming from a child is even more special since they wrote it themselves.
• Your kids can practice their writing. Nearly every kid could stand improvement with their writing, and for the little ones, writing thank you cards can be an especially great exercise to do so. They’ll learn the mechanics of writing the letters of the alphabet as well as practice their grammar.
• Writing the cards is a fun activity for the two of you. Before you assume that having your kids write their own thank you cards will be met with a grumble, phrase the activity as something fun you can both do. Kids love spending time with their parents and writing thank you cards together can be a great activity for the both of you.
• Kids can practice their social skills. While most thank you cards are mailed, some can be hand-delivered. This is what we normally do with our kids when they receive a gift and weren’t able to thank the giver in person.
- Simple tips for writing thank you cards (at any age):
I’ll admit: I’m a bit new to having my kids write thank you cards. I assumed they had to reach a certain age before they can contribute or benefit from the activity. Now I know better, and I look forward to writing thank you cards with all my kids, no matter the age. Below are some simple ways kids of all ages can contribute to writing thank you cards:
• Babies can “write” their thank you cards by finger painting or having their hands outlined on the card.
• Young children who can’t write yet can do the above plus decorate with stickers, draw the gift, the giver, or the occasion with crayons and markers.
• Kids who are starting to write can do the above plus address the card (“Dear Uncle John,”) and finish with their names (“Love, Nathan”).
• Kids proficient in writing can do the above plus write the entire greeting themselves with your help.
And below are tips on how to make the most of writing thank you cards:
• During gift-opening, write the giver’s name and the gift on a big piece of paper your kids can read.
• Ask your kids what they liked most about the gift or about the party and write it down on the big paper so you’ll have ideas of what to write in the actual cards.
• Gather all your materials before beginning: the thank you cards, markers, stickers, pens and pencils, postage and any other items you’d need from start to finish.
• Have your kids adhere the postage stamp onto the envelope.
• Go on an adventure and walk to your local post office or mailbox.
• Make it fun! Writing thank you cards is only a chore when we make it seem like it. Frame it as an opportunity to do art and to remember the fun of the event and the gifts.
• Again, focus on the giver’s effort and the thought behind the gift. Should your kid receive a gift she’s indifferent to, highlight the person’s presence or the kind gesture behind the gift (“It must have taken Aunt Susan a while to knit this scarf for you. She must have really wanted your Christmas to be special to have made this just for you!”).
I’m excited for the opportunity to write thank you cards with my kids during the upcoming holidays. Do your kids regularly write thank you cards for their gifts? What are some other fun ways for kids to write their thank you cards? Let us know in the comments!