Whatever happened to kids writing thank you notes? When is the last time you received one? Do you make your children write them?
In an era of emails, FB posts, tweets and texts, the art of the written note has fallen by the wayside. Why not change that this year? With Christmas less than two weeks away, I want to challenge you to start preparing your children for the gift of 'thank you.' Gift? Yes, gift. After Timmy tears open his gifts and rushes off to the gameroom to start playing with them, it is important to make him pause at some point to not only say thank you, but to sit down and write out a note to Aunt Nancy to let her know her thoughtfulness really was appreciated.
You can start preparing your kids by talking about it now. Take them along to the store to pick out their own thank you cards, or let them design their own. A lot of Christmas cards can be repurposed by cutting off the front of the card and using this to design stationery. Small images on the card can be cut out and pasted on card stock or construction paper. Stickers can be used to further show your child's creativity. By making the process fun, your kids will actually look forward to this tradition.
The text of the note does not have to be eloquent or lengthy. A simple "Thank you for ______. I'm enjoying it already," or "It's exactly what I wanted" is enough. And receiving it will be a gift to Grandma and Grandpap, who remember what it was like to exchange these kind of notes on a regular basis in their earlier years.
One tip someone shared with me that might not go over so well with the kiddos, but isn't a bad idea, is to make a rule that no gifts can be played with or worn until after the note is written. Personally, I would hold off on this one until your kids are ten or older. You do not want them to look at this as a chore or, in some ways, a punishment.
When to start? As early as they can write their name. You can write a short note for them and have them sign their name. Precious.
One more benefit of establishing the habit of writing thank you notes is the fostering of an attitude of gratitude. And that is something you will reap the benefits of for years to come. After all, who doesn't love a grateful kid?
Grateful for all of you,