Encouraging Children To Write Thank You Notes

Twins Thank You Note

While I’m away in Guatemala, several people have stepped up to share their stretching stories with The Stretched Community.  Today, I have the honor and privilege of presenting Heidi Bender. Heidi blogs regularly at Tons of Thanks.  Please check out Heidi’s post and leave an answer to her question.  Afterwards, go check out her blog.  Her contact information along with a short bio can be found at the end of the post.  Thanks!

Encouraging children to write thank you notes

I discovered Jon’s blog mid-way through the 90 Day Thank You Note Challenge.  One of my favorite posts during the challenge was when Jon shared the thank you note that his son wrote when his braces were removed. I do not have any children of my own. However, I feel happy and appreciated whenever I receive a thank you note from my nieces and nephews.

Recently, two of my 13-year-old nieces went to summer camp for a week. They went on different weeks. I sent them each $5 when they were there to spend at the camp store. A couple of weeks later I received a nice hand written thank you note from them.

My nieces are twins, so they each wrote on a side of the same note card. Their notes were short and simple and conveyed their appreciation in two sentences. And the note made my day!

Would you like your kids to be known as the kids that write thank you notes? There are people who remember which kids send notes and which do not (my grandma, for example). I’ve come up with a several suggestions to help your kids stretch by writing thank you notes. Help them appreciate the value of expressing gratitude.

7 ways to encourage children to write thank you notes:

  1. Set a good example when writing thank you notes of your own. Your child will likely pick up on your attitude towards them. If you feel that they are a chore, then they will also feel that way when it is their turn to write a note. If you complain, they will complain.
  2. Let them know the reason why we write thank you notes. Hopefully, you are writing them because you are grateful for what you have received. Help them understand we are not entitled to the gifts that we receive from others.
  3. Let them see you writing them. Do not save this a task to be completed after they are in bed. If they see you writing maybe they will ask questions and take an interest. If they have never seen you write one or talk about thank you notes, they may be very surprised when they graduate high school and are expected to write a lot of them for graduation gifts.
  4. Show them how to write one. Explain that it is not a complicated process. If you are not sure how to write a thank you note, check out these 5 easy steps.
  5. Send your child a thank you note for something they have done. They will learn first-hand how good it feels to be thanked! Recognition goes a long way. You could hand deliver it or put it on their pillow. It may have a greater impact if they receive it the mail. This could be thanking them for cleaning their room or taking the garbage out when asked or for a gift they gave you.
  6. If they are not old enough to write yet, have them draw a picture. I have enjoyed all the hand drawn pictures I have received from my nieces and nephews when they were younger. I proudly displayed them on my refrigerator.
  7. Help them make it a habit. Whenever they receive a gift, get in the routine of having them writing a thank you note within a few days or a week. The longer it is put off the more likely it is for it to be forgotten or to feel like it is too late to send it.

Do your children write thank you notes? What tips would you add to the list? What impact do you think teaching your kids to write thank you notes now will have on their life as they grow up and into adulthood?

About the Author

Heidi Bender is on a mission to help others write thank you notes. She lives in southeast Michigan with her husband and their 3 cats. She also enjoys bike riding, reading, spending time with family, and playing the organ. She also blogs about her adventure of learning how to play the organ as an adult at http://www.organistheidi.com.

You can found her thank you note writing tips, stories, and how to guides at http://www.tonsofthanks.com and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/tonsofthanks.