When was the last time you sat down and wrote a thank you note?
In an increasingly informal and fast-moving society, it’s easy enough to send off a quick “Thanks” in a text message and move on to the next thing.
Which is exactly why a handwritten thank you note makes such an impression – and not only on the receiver, but on the writer as well.
A simple way to not only practice good manners, writing thank you notes also emphasizes gratitude, respect and builds deeper connections.
Teaching your child how to write a proper thank you note from a young age will encourage them to develop a habit of gratitude along with a skill that will help them to stand out in an increasingly competitive world.
Writing thank you notes demonstrates care while emphasizing how important the receiver is to the child. Whether it’s a family member or a friend, taking the time to teach children how to write a proper thank you note is well worth the effort.
When to write a thank you note:
Writing a thank you note after receiving a material gift is obvious, but to instill a sense of gratitude, emphasize the importance of recognizing non-materials gifts as well. Gifts of kindness, encouragement, time and comfort are also important to recognize.
Ask your child if anyone showed kindness to them this week. Perhaps a teacher shared positive feedback, or another student invited them to join in on a game. Maybe a grandparent took them out to lunch or an aunt treated them to a movie. These are all wonderful “gifts” that have been given to your child and can be recognized with a thoughtful thank you note.
How to write a thank you note:
Writing a proper thank you note is simple and with these simple steps, a simple note can make a big impact.
Step 1: Begin with a proper greeting of Dear Mr./Mrs./Aunt/Uncle/Friend, using a formal name as is appropriate.
Step 2: Lead with a note of gratitude. Instead of jumping right to “Thank you for the trip to the movies” begin with “I am so grateful we were able to spend extra time together.”
Step 3: Express thanks for the gift. Explicitly state what you’re thankful for.
Step 4: Share how you will use the gift, keep the memory, or pay it forward.
Step 5: Close with a friendly note: “I’m looking forward to seeing you again soon!”
Step 6: End with a signature, the most formal being “Best regards” or “Sincerely” but for a more informal, friendly feel, you can use “Love” or “Your friend”
Here’s an example of what a thank you note might look like:
Dear Aunt Mae,
I am so grateful we were able to spend the week together. Thank you for teaching me how to sew. I had so much fun sewing my new stuffed animal. Everytime I play with my new fish, I’ll remember how much fun we had together. I can’t wait to visit you again next summer.
Age appropriate tips:
Tip 1: Even before a child learns how to write, they can begin to learn the importance of writing thank you notes by watching you, helping to dictate, or simply by saying “thank you.”
Tip 2: As a child grows and learns how to write, it can be effective to use a “fill in the blank” method. The adult can write out the filler words, while the child writes simple words to fill in the blank.
Tip 3: And even if it’s an accompanying scribble, always have the child add their “signature”.
Slowing down to write a thank you note helps the brain to process gratitude and good feeling emotions. It will help the child to process the act of kindness, appreciate the gift, and build a reflex of gratitude. With all good manners, these skills are best learned by example and practiced often. So who can you write a thank you note to today?