Kids and Thank-You Notes: Sometimes It Takes a Little Help

Parents have been struggling to get kids to write thank-you notes forever – probably since the first gift was given. Often, the resistance comes because children simply don’t know how or what to write. With a little patience and some suggestions from Mom or Dad, overcoming the problem becomes easy, and the thank-yous are on their way.

“I Don’t Know What to Say” Even adults sometimes find it hard to figure out the right words; with much less experience at expressing their thoughts, kids struggle even more. Sit with your child and ask him, “What do you want Grandma/Aunt Mary/Uncle Frank to know?” As you discuss it, help out by making some notes. (Turn this into a little more fun by using a dry-erase board.) Next, talk through each point, deciding together how to turn the bullet point into a complete sentence. Finally, remind your child of the standard format for friendly letters, including the salutation, complimentary close, and paragraph breaks as appropriate.

“It’s Booo-ring!” Spice things up by providing creative stationery for kids, including cool colors and shapes for the paper, stickers and stamps to embellish the letter, and fun, funky pens or pencils for writing. Penning a missive on black or midnight blue paper with a gold or silver pen helps kids forget that letter-writing seemed tedious 10 minutes ago. The Amy Adele website can provide a wide variety of fantastic choices guaranteed to bring the excitement quotient way up and to cut the boredom.

“Can’t I Just Text It In?” For busy families, especially after a prolonged battle over the notes, it might be tempting to cave in and allow a short electronic message, but hold firm! You know that composing a “real” letter is not only more gracious, but also more educational, but the kids don’t have to know that part. Point out that a text is gone quickly, but that sending a handwritten thank-you note is like sending a gift, because the recipient can pull it out to read it again and again, and she is reminded every time of the love and caring shown by the writer taking time to create it.

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