I am an old school handwritten thank you note advocate and have taught my kids the importance of writing a thank you note from a very young age.
This post includes thank you note tips for kids and a free printable thank you note guideline so they can’t fire back with, “I don’t know what to write!”
Here’s how I see it.
Even though these days most “thank yous” are done through text, email or social media, there is still something special about receiving handwritten correspondence.
I believe if a person was thoughtful enough to spend their time and money selecting a gift for me, the least I can do is take a few minutes and write them a note of appreciation.
I also believe learning to write a nice thank you note is a skill that will serve my kids well as they grow up. Just think how impressed a potential employer will be when they receive a handwritten note from your child the day after a job interview, right?!
Thank You Note Tips for Kids
Of course, the extent to which kids are involved in their thank you notes depends on their age.
When my kids were old enough to “get it” but too young to write, I wrote the notes for them and then had them (or helped them) do a simple job like putting on the stamps or adding some stickers.
When they could write their name, I still wrote the note, but had them sign each one.
Then once my oldest learned to write sentences, she was on her own! Here are some tips on how to teach your kids to write nice thank you notes.
1. Involve them in the process.
When selecting our paper goods and party theme, I have my daughters pick out a set of thank you notes at the same time in a design they love. Target has great inexpensive sets.
2. Immediacy is key.
Thank you notes should be written as soon as possible after receiving the gift, and the longer you let the event fade into the past, the greater the chance it will get forgotten. However, it is never too late to send a thank you note, so don’t let that stop you!
I have my girls write their thank you notes the day after the birthday party. It’s just something we do, and they know to expect it.
3. Keep them simple.
They do not need to write an essay. Three simple sentences are sufficient, but I think the content of the sentences is what makes it special.
4. Focus on writing from the heart.
I don’t correct spelling or grammatical errors. I also don’t hound them on using their best penmanship. They get enough of that in school! I just want them to write from the heart and (if possible) enjoy the process, not dread it.
Thank You Note Formula
1. Opening line should thank the person for the specific item(s). I think it’s nice to get specific instead of just saying “thanks for the gift.” For example:
Thank you so much for the pretty butterfly earrings!
2. Next line should say why they like it OR how or when they will use it OR what their favorite thing is about the gift:
I will wear them all the time.
I love the way they sparkle.
3. Closing line should express appreciation for the recipient OR thanks for celebrating with them.
That was so nice of you to think of me.
Thank you for coming to my party!
I am so glad we are friends.
Easy! Three sentences minimum and you are done!
It Made My Heart Burst
The morning after my newly 8-year-old daughter’s birthday party, I walked downstairs to find her hard at work on her thank you notes. She was doing them all on her own.
Is there more rewarding in parenting than seeing your children do something you have tried so hard to teach them on their own?!