Tips for getting your kids to write thank you notes

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Gifts around holiday times were always a double-edged sword for me. While relatives enjoyed giving my children gifts and my children certainly enjoyed receiving the gifts, I typically worried about my children’s attitudes about gifts. Of course I wanted them to feel good about getting presents, but I also didn’t want them to feel entitled. So, to balance the gift giving frenzy, I made it a habit (whether it was for a holiday gift or a birthday gift) of guiding my children to write thank-you notes for each gift they received. To be honest here, at first they balked a bit. Their pals were not expected to write notes, so why did they have to do it. and wouldn’t a quick telephone call serve the same purpose, they asked. but I reminded them of how excited they always were to receive mail and that, while phone calls were nice, they were not something unique or special. eventually my children actually got into the spirit of the thank-you note and now they thank me for teaching them this lesson!So here are some tips for encouraging your young child to write a thank-you note:– show your child thank-you notes when you receive them and let your child know how pleased you are to get them. Then, you can remind him of how happy his relatives will feel when they find his thank-you note in the mailbox.– let your child pick out some colorful cards that are either blank inside or have a very short thank-you message with room to add a personal note. One year I even saw a sale on personalized note cards and ordered them as gifts for each of my children. A cute or personalized card makes this activity more inviting.– keep it short and simple. Ask your child to mention the gift and show his appreciation in one or two sentences. It is really the thought that counts here and I didn’t want to make the process too labor intensive, especially when there were a number of notes to write. You might want to brainstorm a few ideas to get him started. – let your child use his inventive spelling. You can say the word he wants to write slowly and clearly, but allow your child to decide what letters he should write to indicate the intended word. This activity can promote writing skills as well as good manners. (If you believe that the relative receiving the note will not know what it says, write the message in pencil under your child’s writing or draw an arrow to instruct the reader to turn the card over. then write the intended message on the back of the card. Your child does not have to see you do this.)– If your child struggles to properly write each letter, try tracing worksheets to help him improve his pencil control. Or, if his pencil control is strong but he is still having difficulty writing each letter, try tracing letters worksheets to improve letter formation. The thank-you note activity can be an incentive for children to hone their handwriting skills, and tracing letters reinforces proper letter formation.

For information on helping your child develop important school-readiness skills, please check out Renee at for a kindergarten readiness test and free kindergarten worksheets including Dolch sight words and shapes worksheets .

Renee Abramovitz is a a former preschool and kindergarten teacher who retired in 2008 to become a “full-time grandma” to her four stunning grandsons. She is passionate about the idea that all parents are their child’s first and most important teacher and strives to give parents the tools and confidence they need to successfully work with their children at home. Renee shares tips for working with young children at where she offers a free kindergarten readiness test parents can take to assess their child’s readiness to start school plus hundreds upon hundreds of free kindergarten worksheets for parents to use at home with their children.

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