Thank You Notes - From Children

What 4 year old is "too busy" to write a thank you note? Exactly. While in some fabulously over-scheduled circles, thank you notes may have become passé, people who know, know that this will not do. Like coaching a child to have passable table manners; training a child to write thank you notes can be excruciating. For younger children, drawing a picture, or signing a name to thoughts dictated to a parent can suffice, but by the time children write complete sentences in school, they are old enough to write their own thank you notes. Some rare children have a natural gift and can toss off charming and honest thank you notes from a young age. Many other children may lay their heads on the table and moan like a colony of lepers at the mention of thank you notes. Best results are achieved when a parent sits with the child and walks her through it. Find a sizable chunk of time when you are relaxed and focused and your child is awake and well nourished (not bedtime). Talk about the gift and the person who gave it: “What did aunt Betsy give you? Did you play with it in the basement yesterday? Does that complete your collection of Magic Tree House books?” The well-mannered mother guides her child to the material for the note, getting the job done, and teaching her children that writing thank you notes is a manageable and possibly enjoyable task. With luck, she will liberate her children to write thank you notes on their own when they are older and less amenable to parental meddling. Though it is tempting to allow children to wallow in the ignorance of a thank-you-note-free life, would you really want your child to become so entitled and boorish?

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