Cultivating gratitude: Yes, thank you notes still matter
Kids are never too young the express their thanks for a gift or favor. Even preschoolers can help write thank you notes to family and friends, helping both motor and social skills.
According to Marty Garrison of Paisley and Paper in Greenville, it is a vital skill for children to learn because it is important to let people know when you appreciate them.
“A lot of people today let someone know they appreciate them, and we like to be appreciated,” Garrison said.
Children even as young as 3- or 4-years-old can draw pictures and write their names on notes. While the parent might be doing the writing, the child can easily add their own personal touch that will make grandma or Aunt Susie know their gift is appreciated. If you can, sending a photo of your child wearing that sweater or riding the bike goes a long way to show how much a gift is loved.
There are even pre-made note cards with fill in the blank lines for children to write the giver’s name, the gift received and sign their own name. These are perfect for children just learning to write, Garrison said.
As children grow, they can begin writing their own notes, and they don’t need to be complicated. A few quick lines to say thank you is all that is needed.
“By second or third grade, kids can write their own notes. They only need to be two or three sentences,” Garrison stated.
Older children and teens can be as elaborate as they want, but only a few lines are needed to convey thankfulness. They might enjoy designing the card themselves and are old enough to address the envelope.
An easy formula to follow is to say thanks for the specific gift, and perhaps say how it will be used. Follow with an expression of love or a hope to see the person soon. End with the child’s name. The point is to be gracious and genuine with their words.
Thank you notes don’t have to be only for gifts. They can also express gratitude to someone for attending a school concert or for doing a favor. There’s no limit on what someone can express thanks for.
Garrison added a tip for anyone writing a thank you note.
“Always write it first on scrap paper,” she said. “Then write it neatly on your stationery. This will help avoid any ‘oopses.’”