Friday, June 8, 2012

What I Learned From Making My Kids Write Thank You Notes

The other day I reminded my son Jacob that he needed to write some thank you notes. According to my kids, no one else they know has to do this. Perhaps this is becoming something of a lost art, but I still hand my kids pen and paper and hope for the best.

I’m not sure what my kids have learned, but here’s what I’ve discovered over the years.

1.      Writing well is not an inherited gift. Several Christmases ago, one son wrote to his grandparents, “Thanks for the assorted stuff.” I told the son, “Uh, this isn’t acceptable.” The son said, “But I’m seriously thankful, and they gave me assorted stuff.”

2.     In spite of the fact that my children have all had to write personal and business letters and envelopes in English classes, my high school graduate son asked, “So where on the envelope do you write the address you’re sending the note to?” I answered, “How are you ever going to pay your bills if you don’t know?” Then it occurred to me that he’ll pay online.

3.     When they were younger, I had to specify exactly how many sentences they had to write. Otherwise, I discovered that they could fill up a note with really large letters.

4.     Instead of using a dictionary to look up a word the child doesn’t know how to spell, he will simply use very messy handwriting to disguise the words. Apparently, if the recipient of the note can’t read the words, then he/she won’t know what’s misspelled.

5.    Over the years, my children have assured me that they’ll never make their kids write thank you notes. I’m guessing that I’ll be getting them. Though they’ll probably be emailed. Sigh.


  1. I think having them write thank you notes is important too!
    In fact, I usually give stationary as a gift to my nieces and nephews!

    (Yeah, I'm a fun aunt...)

    But I think it also helps them with writing in general and putting their thoughts down on paper. Plus, it's good manners. :)

  2. Hey! We still write thank you notes. Sometimes it can be difficult, though, when your loved ones send you money. "Thanks for the cash. I'll be sure to spend it. Thanks."

  3. I am working on thank-you notes for my kid's three-year birthday party, and really, really wishing she was old enough so I could make her do it instead. I am so embarrassingly terrible at thank-yous - I managed to get notes out from our wedding right around our one-year anniversary.

    I'm hoping I manage to raise my kids to do better.

  4. I have to admit that I don't do this, but I think it's great that you do. It also teaches your kids to be grateful and that's so important.

  5. This is so cute! My kids have written a few thank you notes, but mostly they've had to write I'm Sorry notes to teachers, etc. LOL

  6. Thank you notes are a dying art! I had an English teacher who actually spent an entire class period teaching us how to write Thank You notes. I think it's a nice life skill, but I didn't think it was the best use of our class time. :P

    I've used that BIG LETTERS trick before...

  7. I think Thank You notes mean even more now, when so few people send them. For close friends and family we tend to have an agreement that we're all thanked up if we do it verbally, but I still think they are nice.
    I have sent gifts several times and honestly wondered if the person ever received it, because there was never a note or acknowledgement.