The way we write our thank yous has changed as the girls have gotten older, so I thought we’d talk about how to make this easy and fun for you and your kids. I know it can be a struggle to get your kids to stop playing with their gifts long enough to sit and write a thank you note for them. So here are my tips on how to making writing thank you notes easy for kids – at any age.
The day after the girls’ birthday party, we started writing thank you notes. We’re not done yet, so if you haven’t gotten a note from us yet, I plead father-in-the-hospital and beg your forgiveness. It’s coming your way — promise!
Thank you note from Chickabug
Let me be very upfront about my bias: I like a handwritten thank you note, written by the child, and sent within a week of the party. That’s my Emily Post / Miss Manners ideal.
Reality? Any effort a parent makes that approaches thank you note status, I appreciate. If you write the note, great. If you child fills in a thank you template, nifty. If you snap a photo of your child with the gift and send an email, terrific. I think the act of gratitude is way more important than the form.
Thank you note from Ledingham Paper & Party Supplies
4 and Younger
For the really young ones, the thank you note is probably going to fall on mom. But you can still make this fun and involve your child because it’s never too early to demonstrate gratitude.
- Pick stationery that coordinates with your party color or that at least inspires you. Buy from an Etsy seller or pick something up in the Michael’s dollar bin. If it’s pretty, you’ll enjoy the process more.
- Write the notes with your children next to you. They can keep busy with a coloring book while you write the note. Just let them see how important it is to say thank you.
- Ask your kids what they really like about the gift and include that personal touch in your note.
- Have your kids sign their name, make their mark or add a drawing.
Thank you note from Serendipity Soiree
5 and 6
By now, your kids are writing but spelling, sentence construction and composition are skills they haven’t mastered. They can write their own notes based on your template. It’s just going to take a lot of patience on your part.
- In your best penmanship, write them a sample note. This will relieve you from spelling the same words over and over.
- Just like when your kids were younger, ask them what they want to say about each gift. Or make a suggestion: “You could tell them how this was the first gift you played with after the party.”
- Draw pencil lines on your note cards or choose lined stationery for a neater result.
- If your kids are perfectionists like mine, have them write in pencil so it’s easier to correct mistakes. Otherwise, you’ll go through a lot of discarded notes. I have never been able to convince mine that it’s OK to draw a single line through a misspelled word and keep going. Instead, they burst into tears, crumble up the note, and throw their heads on the table. (This is why mommy drinks wine at the end of the night.)
Notes that mine wrote to their teacher at the end of kindergarten
7 and Older
Your kids should be able to handle thank you notes on their own at this stage. Mine get excited about writing thank you notes and are really proud of their efforts. I owe you guys another “Whip ‘Em Into Shape Wednesday” post, but this is definitely in-line with the Cleaning House philosophy that we’re trying to embrace in our house.
- Remind them of how to construct a gracious note. (See my tips below and then relax. Baby A wrote to every guest that she was her “best friend.” Not a great idea, but I decided not to dampen her enthusiasm.)
- At 7 and 8, I’m still not worried about how long the note is. I just want it to hit the high points: words about the friend, something personal about the gift, and a thank you.
- At age 8, I introduced the idea of addressing envelopes. I should have drawn pencil lines on the envelope to make it easier for them to get the placement right. I also should have double-checked their work, because we did get a few notes back for missing house numbers.
- Mine demonstrated some appalling grammar, but I’m trying to not micromanage. They’ll get it right eventually.
Note from this year’s birthday party
One of our returned notes — can’t the Post Office intuit the house number? 🙂
Tips for Multiples
When the girls were too young to write their own notes, I would write one note to each child thanking them for the two gifts they had given my twins. I always felt like I should have written two notes and just hoped my friends would understand that I was T.I.R.E.D. Our friends who write thank you notes always write one to each girl, which I so appreciate. The girls love getting mail from their friends! Now that mine can do their own writing, they write a note for each gift, so I can let go of my slacker guilt.
Thank you note from Brown Paper Goods
Sample Thank You Note
I’m so glad you could come to my party! It was really fun to have you there. Thank you for the GIFT. I love it! I really like [something personal about the gift]. I’m so glad you are my friend!
How do you handle thank you notes? Any great tips to share? Sound off in comments — I’d love to hear what you do in your house!