Teaching Kids to Show Gratitude with Thank You Notes

By Nikki M

Our kids take a lot of things for granted. And that's our fault – we reward them for things they're expected to do, we bribe them with toys when they act out, and we submit to their demands because it's easy. These days, giving them little gifts or taking them out for ice cream is no longer special... it's expected.

It's never too late to instill more positive habits in our kids. Why not teach them the fine art of writing a thank you note? It's a great way for them to express their appreciation. A lovely, handwritten note feels personal and thoughtful, compared to a quick "thanks", or worse, no thanks at all. It's also a great way to work on those penmanship skills

If our kids can learn that whining at the grocery store gets them candy at the checkout aisle... They can learn how to say and write "Thank You", and mean it. 

The Supplies

  • There's a lot to be thankful for, so it's best to buy cards by the bulk. There are plenty of beautiful options out there – choose designs that your kids enjoy, and they'll be more inspired to write. 

    We love Moglea and Wilde House Paper's minimalist cards. If you love fun illustrations, check out The Good Twin. For something pretty and floral, try Rifle Paper Co. If you want something old school, check out Present & Correct
  • If you prefer something more personalized, buy some plain card stock and decorate the cover yourself. Card stock holds up well to watercolors, pressed flowers, collages and other works of art. 
  • Don't forget to get a good pen – it makes the letter-writing ritual extra fancy. Pilot Petit1 Mini and Pelikan Pelikano Junior are fountain pens made especially for kids. Who knows, they might turn out to be a natural at calligraphy. 

When to Say Thank You

  • Always write a thank you note whenever you receive a gift.

  • Write thank you notes to your guests when you host an event.  And don't limit yourself to birthday parties— playdates, tea parties, barbecues, movie nights, sleepovers and other casual gatherings all warrant a nice thank you card.

  • Be generous with giving thanks. Random acts of kindness definitely deserve a card, so feel free to send them out for the smallest things. Thank your neighbor who always throws the baseballs back over the fence, or the guy at the donut shop who knows your order by heart. 

  • Make a habit out of sending cards in a timely manner. Don't wait too long to say thank you – although, better late than never!

Letter Writing Tips

  • Be specific with what you're thankful for. Instead of saying "Thanks for the present," say: "Thank you for the stuffed whale you got me this Christmas. I love cuddling with it every night!"  Isn't that a lot better?

  • Keep things short and sweet. A thank you note doesn't need to be 10 pages long to be sincere. Save the more lengthy stuff for your pen pal.
  • Include some photos. Now that everything's digital, it's so nice and unexpected to have printed photographs. Send dated polaroids from your birthday party, or a photo of you enjoying your new present. 

If you're planning on sending out your thank you note via snail mail, teach your kids how to properly address the envelope, lick the seal (the best part!), and attach a stamp. Otherwise, hand-deliver that card with pride!

Doesn't it feel good to show your appreciation?

Suggested Products

The Good Twin Thank You Card

Kaweco Sport Fountain Pen

Tools to Liveby Craftsman Stamp

Cover image via Rifle Paper Co.

Tags : how to show gratitude   teaching kids gratitude   how to teach kids to be thankful   writing thank you notes   education   language arts   writing   life lessons   gratitude   

Camille Aud
Such a great idea. It's a perfect way to use up all the beautiful stationery I have laying around...