Ideas For Thank You Notes
As parents, we want our children to be grateful for the things they receive. Thank you notes are an excellent way to acknowledge receipt of a gift and to show appreciation. By teaching children how to create these notes from an early age, we set a pattern that will hopefully last a lifetime.
The following are suggestions as to how to make the process fun and meaningful at different ages:
Toddlers and Preschoolers
While you will be doing much of the work for youngsters in this age range, try to involve them as much as possible. Talk about the person for whom you are making the note and what that person gave. Stress how receiving the note will make that person feel good.
Many toddlers and preschoolers enjoy stickers. Give her a piece of stationery and let her create a masterpiece. Through gentle suggestions as to placement, the activity can be a great way to practice concepts such as top/bottom, left/right and upside down/right side up.
Finger painting is another popular craft for this age group. Turn their work into notes by cutting out seasonal shapes or handprints. (Cutting shapes from a painted piece of paper yields better results than cutting shapes beforehand and trying to have the child paint on the shape.) Leaves and hearts look especially good because of the swirls and blending of colors. A message can be written on the back of the cutout, or the cutout can be glued to another piece of paper.
Help your beginning writer to practice her penmanship and learn about proper letter-writing format by creating fill-in-the-blank notes. You create the basic template on the computer and print it out on decorative paper; she fills in the missing information with a pencil or crayon. For instance, a note might read: "Dear (blank), Thank you for the (blank). You really helped make my birthday special! Love, (blank)."
Make sure to leave adequate room for your child to write – kids often have large handwriting! Further involve the child by having him put a stamp on the letter and drop it in the mailbox.
Can't bear to toss all those drawings and paintings your child creates? Put the best of them in a box, and then, when an occasion arises for a thank you note, let your child select one on which to write a simple message.
While older children are capable of writing their own notes, the act might seem more like a chore than a chance to express sincere gratitude. Add some fun to the process with some notecards of their choice and a supply of pens in cool colors, or buy a calligraphy set and let them try their hand at fancy writing. Challenge the child to create a comic strip thank you note, to write "thanks" in various foreign languages or to make a note in ransom-style by cutting out letters from magazines and pasting them onto paper.
Nothing shows someone how much a present is appreciated more than seeing it used. To convey sentiments without having to write much, consider photographing the child in her new outfit or playing the videogame her aunt sent. Be sure to explain to the child why the picture is being taken. On the back of the photo, either you or the child (depending on age) can write a short message such as "Thanks! I'll be all ready for winter in the great sweater you sent."
Some children may prefer the option of phoning the giver. Use this occasion as a chance to teach telephone skills such as looking up a number and dialing, identifying oneself, holding a conversation and ending a conversation politely.