Writing thank you notes with your kids

We all want to teach our kids to be grateful and the gift extravaganza of this last week is the perfect opportunity.
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We decided to sit around the kitchen table with our girls the other night and talk briefly about the fun things we did and the gifts we received. I asked our girls to think about the people who gave us gifts-grandmas and grandpas, aunts and uncles, and even Santa himself-then asked if these people knew how happy their gift made them. We then talked about why we write thank you notes and why it is important to show gratitude. Then use the list you brainstormed to get to work.

Of course you can use printed thank you notes, but why not let your little artists loose for something more original? Blank cards or even a half sheet of paper, folded will be great. I love the HH Paper Pail from Target. (You can’t beat 200 notecards and envelopes in fun colors for $10.) Whatever you use, take a moment to guide your kids through the process of writing a thank you. Crane Paper gives outlines the four basic elements of a thank you:

• the greeting: Dear Grandma,

• an appreciation: Thank you for the Belle Polly Pocket.

• a mention of use: I love dressing her in different outfits.

• sign off with mention of the future: I can’t wait to show you all of my princesses and the castle I made when you come to visit next month! Love, Emily

For younger writers, have them draw a picture of their gift, themself using the gift, or a portrait of the recipient. Then jot a little note underneath.

For very young writers, let them scribble a sheet of paper with a few colors, then cut the sheet into smaller squares and mount it on the thank you cards. Here’s an example from my 13 month old:

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Afterall, it is never too early to teach good manners and everyone loves to feel appreciated. (Now, teach them to give you a good thank you…okay, I guess this mommy can dream.)

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