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Getting Your Kids to Write Thank You Notes

by Elizabeth Pantley

Getting kids to do the things that demonstrate good manners isn’t always easy or fun. But having good manners will help your child have better friendships, happier family relationships, and an easier time adjusting to the nuances of our society. No child is born with good manners. Manners are definitely something that need to be taught. Over time, and with practice, your child will naturally begin to repeat the things she has been taught from a young age.

One of the social graces that is often overlooked is writing of the Thank You Note. It is so important that children learn from a young age that it is appropriate to write a thank you note anytime they receive a gift, or anytime they have been a guest at someone’s home.

Children will learn what they are taught, and here are some ways to begin the habit of writing thank you notes.

Get the motion going:
Soon after your child receives a gift, sit down with her and help her compose and write a thank you note. Put the paper in front of her, hand her a pen or crayon and suggest an opening line, “Let’s write Grandma’s thank you note. Maybe you want to say . . . “

Take advantage of their computer skills:
Have your child compose thank-you notes on the computer. Most kids enjoy working on the computer and are comfortable with it. Created with care, a computer-generated note, with an added personal comment, is an acceptable way for kids to show their appreciation.

Make it fun:
Thank you notes don’t have to be boring! A child can be encouraged to get creative: a collage, a photo, a drawing – there are many fun ways of getting the point across. What’s most important is that the giver feels acknowledged.

Thank You Note first/Play second! Create a new family rule:
You may only play with a gift after the thank you note has been written. This will get the job done quicker than anything else!

Copyright Elizabeth Pantley. (McGraw-Hill, 2003)

About the Author:
Elizabeth Pantley is the author of several books, including
Gentle Baby Care : No-cry, No-fuss, No-worry — Essential Tips for Raising Your Baby, The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night, Kid Cooperation (with an introduction by William Sears, MD), Perfect Parenting, as well as her latest The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers and is also president of Better Beginnings, Inc. She is a popular speaker on family issues, and her newsletter, Parent Tips, is seen in schools nationwide. She appears as a regular radio show guest, and has been quoted in Parents, Parenting, Redbook, Good Housekeeping, American Baby, Working Mother, and Woman’s Day magazines. Visit Elizabeth’s web site

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