Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thank You Card Etiquette (for kids)

Sending thank you cards seems to be a dying art. It seems like it's become more of a chore than something to do from the bottom of your heart because you really are grateful for the gift or act of kindness. 

So, in the spirit of being grateful (with it being almost Thanksgiving and Christmas), I am sharing several tips & tricks about teaching your children to say thank you.  I'm calling it my Thank You Series.  Here's my schedule for the next few days. 

Saturday: Simple (& Creative) Ways to Help Your Child Say Thank You
Sunday: Benefits of Teaching Your Kids to Send Thank You Cards
Monday: Ways to Make Sending Thank You Cards More Fun For Kids
Tuesday: Thank You Card Etiquette (For Kids) You are here! 
^^^Read this below!^^^
Wednesday: People You Should Say 'Thank You' To More Often
Thursday: Happy Thanksgiving!

Thank you card etiquette for children is similar to thank you card etiquette for adults, only a bit more relaxed.  
Are thank you cards always required?
I guess the answer to this is debatable... obviously, no one can force you or your child to write a thank you card.  It is, however, highly suggested among different "manner sites".  When you think about how nice it is to receive a thank you note, it's a lot more motivating to write one yourself & help others to feel that way, too. 
If you think about it, the more you send, the better you'll feel, the better the recipients will feel and who knows... maybe you'll even become the "favorite niece" or even receive a nicer present next time because the gift giver knows how much you or your child appreciated the first gift.  (ulterior motives at it's best!)
Who should we send a thank you card to?
It's polite to always send a thank you card to anyone who give you a gift, money, or even does an act of service for you or your child (this includes giving their time).  Stay tuned for my post tomorrow about people you should be thanking more often.
Side note:  I recently heard of one mom who has her children write Santa a thank you card each year... I love that idea! 
When should we send a thank you card? 
Timeliness is important.  My mom once told me that the quicker she receives the thank you card, the more she knows the gift was appreciated.  I have to agree with her, and would assume most everyone else feels this way, too.  So, my answer to this question is ASAP.  Thank you cards are so easily forgotten, so be careful not to put it off for too long. 
With that being said, it's never too late to send one out.  Just the fact that you took your time to write a note of thanks to that person, will mean a lot to them. 
What if my child is too young to write? 
That's okay... there are still a lot of great ways to include them in saying thank you!  I've come up with several unique & easy ways for kids to say thank you (including those who cannot write or even talk yet) that you can find here.  It's also appropriate for you to write a short message for them (they can tell you what to write if they are old enough), and they can add their special touch by drawing, writing their name or other simple ideas
I say, include them in saying thank you as soon as possible because the younger you start teaching them, the more it will stick with them (and the cuter it is)! 
What should we write in the thank you card?
Writing a thank you card doesn't have to be anything elaborate, especially for kids!  It's great to start out with saying 'thank you for _______'.  It's also great to explain why your child enjoys the gift.  If the gift was money or a gift card, it is good to say what they will use the money for.  If the child is old enough to write their own name, it's always recommended that they sign their name at the bottom.
What if my child really didn't like the gift?
Let's face it.  Sometimes kids get gifts that they don't like, but this can be a great teaching opportunity.  Share with the child all of the thought, effort, work & money that went into this gift & how even though it's not exactly what they were hoping for, it was so nice of 'So & So' to go out of their way to show that they care about your child.  So your child can do the same by going out of his or her way to write them a quick & simple thank you card. 
All gifts should be acknowledged... even those that aren't exactly appreciated. 

What if it really is a chore?
I'll be the first one to admit, that I'm not always perfect at sending out thank you cards.  Sometimes life gets very busy & it's hard to make time for it (let alone remember it... thank you mommy brain!).  Sometimes it's not as fun as others & that's usually when it becomes a chore.  So, in hopes to make it more fun for your child (and you), yesterday I posted about some ways to make writing thank you cards more fun

And if you still need that extra motivation, on Sunday I posted about the benefits of teaching your children to say thank you

And for those of you who are still reading this & are still non-believers... just remember, it DOES NOT have to be anything extraordinary!  Sometimes the smallest & simplest acts of kindness mean the most to people

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