Getting Your Kids to Write Thank You Notes

| December 26, 2012 | 32 Comments

Boy drawingAfter the boxes are opened, the toys played with, and the ribbons and wrappings cleaned up, it’s time to write thank you notes. If getting kids to write thank you notes sounds like a chore, take heart: It doesn’t have to be. Writing thank you notes with your child can actually be a fun activity for both you and them. The trick is to treat it like a nice way of making other people feel good, and not like an obligation or a chore. Your child will follow your lead. Here are a few more tips for making the note-writing process go more smoothly.

  • Don’t wait too long. The sooner, the better is always a good rule with thank you notes, and when it comes to notes from children, you have to consider their attention span as well. It’s important that they get a chance to compose their thank you note while the excitement of the gift is still fresh in their minds. When you sit down to write the note, you should take time to talk with your child about the gift – what made it special, why they liked it, what they have done or will do with it. This will help them decide what they want to say.
  • Use kid-friendly materials. Skip the boring lined paper and number 2 pencils. Choose colored paper, markers, stickers, and stamps. Your child will have more fun writing the note, and the gift giver will receive a colorful, creative card. Everybody wins. You also may want to take some pictures of your child using, holding, or wearing the gift. Include the photo with the thank you note. If you take several photos, you can let your child choose which is the best one to include.
  • Help according to your child’s age and abilities. For a three year old, you’ll probably need to do all the writing. She can dictate what she wants to say, and help decorate the letter. Four and five year olds may be able to contribute by printing their names at the bottom. Six and seven year olds may be able to write part of the note themselves, but they may need you to start, finish or fill it in. Eight to ten year olds should be able to write the letter themselves, but they still need you to act as an editor. Help them with their spelling and punctuation, but don’t be a total stickler. Sometimes kid-errors (which are still decipherable!) are cute to look back on later.

Let your child know that the people who gave him gifts picked them out and sent them to make him feel good. This is chance to do something nice that will make them feel good in return. In the process, you and your child get to do a fun project. Look at it as a way to spend a wintry afternoon creating together, and thank you notes will be a breeze to get through!

Comments (32)

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  1. monica c says:

    I think writing Thank You notes is a lost art, that definately needs to be brought back. Recently my daughter attended a birthday party for one of her kindergarten friends. To my girls great excitement she received a Thank you note from her friend. Thank you notes/cards are really a very nice personal touch.

  2. Julie Wood says:

    Last year, I bought some really nice gifts for a relative and I did not even get a thank you. When a person does not thank you for a gift they gave you, then this makes the person not want to buy any more gifts. It is so important to teach our kids to say Thank you to people who give them gifts!

  3. Kathy Idol says:

    I think that children should learn the art of doing thank you cards. Yes you say thank you when you get it but adding that thank you card to me is just an extra act of kindness.

  4. Stephanie from CT says:

    Definately teach them young. No note, no present to use! It will become a habiy.

  5. Vicki Howes says:

    Writing notes is a lost art and so much appreciated by the recipient.

  6. michelle gilliland mcafee says:

    Great reminder. I really like the idea of making it fun by using stickers, colored pencils, etc.

  7. Debra Gibbs says:

    This is a great idea that sadly too many do not teach their children to do. Thankfully there are grandparents that still know that teaching a child the proper things to do is the best that they can do. Why our kids did not learn from this… only I hear from mine, I did not like doing it as a kid so I am not going to make my kids do it…………yet they are the first ones to complain that a kid did not say thank you to them…. learn from our mistakes kids……….learn from our mistakes.

  8. Jerneal Gelfman says:

    I am in full support of kids writing Thank You notes. This was something I enjoyed very much in childhood, and I encourage my own kids, as well as others to do such. πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing.

  9. Marissa says:

    Great advice! I remember how my mother always made me write Thank You cards to people who gifted me presents. :]

  10. Sue Morris says:

    I think it is a wonderful idea to teach children to write thank you notes! When I give a gift, I know I like to receive acknowledgement that the gift was received.

  11. margaret pooler says:

    I think it is wonderful to teach our children to write thank you notes. It gives them some form of responsibility and can also be a fun creative project at the same time.

  12. Rich D says:


  13. AMY V says:


  14. Alison says:

    Great post – kids need to learn this – even if it is just writing their name…

  15. Pamela Halligan says:

    It’s so important to teach children manners early, and writing thank you letters is a great way to create appreciative kids. Thanks for sharing these helpful tips.

  16. Sprinkle says:

    I would always encourage my kids to write thank you notes coz it depicts that kids are learning how to recognize people and they are disciplined.

  17. Danna Wolf says:

    It took my brother about four months to get around to writing thank you notes for his Bar Mitzvah gifts. It was like pulling teeth.

  18. Trent says:

    My mom always made me do this as a kid and I still do it to this day. I will also be passing this down to my kids. This definitely teaches kids to appreciate everything that is granted to them.

  19. Kimberly Davis says:

    This is one of the best advice I’ve seen in a long time. People don’t write anymore.very good idea!

  20. Athena says:

    Thanks for the info, I always forget to write thank you cards! This will help me remind my kids & help them! Tink4everbell at yahoo dot com

  21. Nena Sinclair says:

    I love this post! People just don’t even think to send out thank you notes anymore, let alone teach their kids to do so! Thanks for the post!

  22. Debra Givens-Wagner says:

    This post really hits home! I have great neices and great nephews that I send birthday and Christmas presents to and every time I have to call up and ask if they got them nevermind a thank you! Wow, everytime! Than king someone for a present is something my children were taught!!

  23. My oldest daughter and third daughter both do thank you notes…they always have…my oldest daughter has had her two boys do thank you notes since little on…I think it is a custom that has been lost and needs to be revisited, a lot more personal then a text or email…thank you.

  24. My son is only 3 but when he is old enough I plan on teaching him to write thank you notes.

  25. I wish all parents would make thank-you notes a priority. It means so much and relects proper manners as well.

  26. Jeremy says:

    Great post! I was horrible about writing thank you notes as a child but my wife is super good at it. We have made it a point to write thank you notes at any time we can and this is something that I want to pass down to my children. It means the world to people to get a personal note thanking them for thinking of them! Again Great post!

  27. illy junus says:

    i love the idea of thank you notes, is already rare, because lots of people just sent email to say thank you

  28. Dana Wales says:

    My kids always have to write Thank You notes they dread it but when they started to get their own mail (people began to thank them thanks to their example) they loved it.

  29. Destry Brown says:

    Great tips and we actually used them this evening! We loved the idea to usse kid-friendly materials Definately a great idea!

  30. Linda Short says:

    Writing “Thank You” notes is a wonderful idea. Politeness is always appreciated.

  31. Cindi Decker says:

    This is a nice post on something that too many parents don’t enforce for their kids. I definately appreciate getting a thank you note after I have tried very hard to get someone a special present. Thanks for the tips.

  32. Rama says:

    Love writing thankyou cards! nothing says thankyou like one πŸ˜‰

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