After 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!