Q&A: Getting Kids to Write Thank You Cards


Does anyone have any age appropriate recommendations on how to get children to write thank-you notes for gifts received this holiday season?

  • Pauline Delton suggests, “I had my (5yo) son just say something to me about his gifts for his birthday (I gave him ideas of what thank you cards might say), and I wrote his words down in a card without changing them much, and then he signed his name. So, for one thing he said something like, “I want to see what bones there are!” and I added “(he means in the excavation kit)”. And then I just let people know ahead of time how we did it so they wouldn’t be confused. –  Another thing would be to call people and thank them, thank them individually at the party if there is one (some cultures don’t send thank you notes; they consider the at-party thank you to be appropriate), or take a pic when the item is worn/used and send that.”
  • Audrey Nystrom Anderson suggests, “For my 3 year old- I have him color in the cards and I write a quick note of thanks (not everyone can decipher scribble ).”
  • Michael Rongner suggests, “Stickers.”
  • Sara Barry suggests, “My daughter is 3 and has recently started to like using the phone. She’s asked to call people and tell them that she likes or was using something they gave her, so that’s mostly what we are doing now. I’ll probably work on thank you notes with her in the future, but for this year, we’ll stick with calls and thank you in person.”
  • Susan Lillie Robert suggests, “I think if parents sit down and lead by example…set a night that is to write thank you notes and everyone joins in.”
  • Rebecca Dejnak suggests, “My oldest is 5 so I have her write at least her name on the thank you I wrote, often it’s what she tells me. When she was younger and for my 2 yr old, coloring on the non-written side of the card included them in the process.”
  • Lisa Osman suggests, “My child is to young (19 months old) to write, but I am thinking when she is old enough perhaps she can make her own thank you cards and it can be a drawing and I could give it to the person who gave the gift. It may not be in the words “thank you,” but its from their heart!”
  • Amanda Saklad suggests, “As soon as my kids knew how to make their letters, I had them copy a simple THANK YOU letter (one sentence). Before that, I had them dictate a letter while I wrote it and they drew a ‘thank you’ picture. The older ones (9 and 12) write their own and it has to have at least three sentences and be specific about WHAT they are thanking.”
  • Barbara Dunn suggests, “Take a photo of the child with the gift or take a photo of the child holding a hand colored THANK YOU poster. Depending on age and skill set, have them sign their name, copy “Thank you”, then work on sentences.”
  • Sally Yates suggests, “Tell them to. Whose the parent?”
  • Rhonda Anderson suggests, “I have my child make the Thank You card, from which I make copies to send out. Up to now I have been the stenographer taking dictation- she is able to do her own this year. It is important that YOU the parent are also doing Thank You cards- as a parent you are setting the example- and showing how important it is to take the time to Thank- Not to mention spending time with your child. – It should be a fun activity, not a chore…”
  • Rebecca Racz suggests, “Exactly, just make it a fun activity. Depending on the skills level… just a drawing with a little “thank you for the gift!” written by a parent, or a simple sentence and signature by the child is enough. Creating the “card” or other artwork is key, (and the fun part) I think. I have received plenty of cute little scribbles from kids that get the point across just fine!”
  • Megan Banta suggests, “My mom wouldn’t let me play with the toy, wear the clothes, or deposit or spend the money until after the thank you was written – made me write those notes fast!!”
  • Amita Guha suggests, “My mom used to sort of hover over me in the kitchen while I did them in the dining room. Sadly, this made them a hated chore, but I did get them done, and I still do them to this day.”
  • Karen Palmer suggests, “I’ve taught my daughter to truly appreciate any gift she receives and though she may not care for it she understands the importance of being thankful for what she has … and has given.”

[Image credit: (ccl) woodleywonderworks]

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