We all love to express thanks around the Thanksgiving holiday, but in my house, we try — admittedly sometimes without success — to teach thankfulness as a way of life regardless of what time of year it is. That includes writing thoughtful thank-you notes.
I know a lot of people who actually don’t bother with these at all. They receive a gift and don’t acknowledge it. Don’t get me wrong, when I give gifts, I don’t do so for the sake of getting a thank-you. I do so to spread kindness or show appreciation, to show someone I truly understand them, or, of course, in celebration of a holiday or event. But I can’t really think of a time when I, myself, received something and didn’t write a thank you-note in return. Or a time when I haven’t enjoyed doing so.
I “force” my kids to do the same. Yes, it’s a mandatory activity. It’s not second-nature to them yet to think of writing a note on their own, though luckily they do often voice “thank you” when they receive something. But I think it’s important for them to do more. I want them to acknowledge that somebody thought of them, gave them something, did something for them, and would likely be happy to know that my kids appreciated it.
Writing thoughtful thank-you notes doesn’t have to be a frustrating ordeal. Though I force the activity, I do try to make it fun for the kids, and try to add a personal touch. Here are 6 quick and easy, creative thank-you note ideas:
- Trace your child’s hand with magic marker on paper. Have them either color it in or write their message within the handprint. It is quick and fun, and shows the child was actually involved in the thank-you process.
- Do your kids like Spin Art? Mine do! And after a few minutes of Spin Art, I find zillions of those little colorful splattered cards drying on my counter. I save them and repurpose them as thank-you notes.
- If you have a lot of notes to send, for example after a birthday party, create a template/image related to the theme of the party, for example in Powerpoint, and print out several copies to use as thank-you notes. You can type and print the message and have your child sign the note, or you can hand-write the note.
- Fingerpaint! Preferably washable. We love making keepsakes with fingerpaint, including handprints on paper cards to use as thank-you notes.
- Stickers. Simply fold a piece of paper into a card form, and have your child cover it with fun stickers before writing the note.
- Make a puzzle! Write your thank-you note on it and then break it up to add some fun for the recipient. We love these pre-made blank puzzles, but it’s just as easy to simply color a picture or write your note on paper, then cut it up into puzzle piece shapes.
Not in the mood for any of these? Simply write a note. It’s the thought that counts. 🙂
Wondering what to say in the thank-you note? If my child has trouble thinking of it on his own, or is too young to write, we go through a simple series of questions to get the words out:
- Who gave you the gift? (Dear _________,)
- What did they give you? (Thank you for the _____________)
- How did it make you feel? (I love it! OR It made me so happy! OR I’ve always wanted that! OR It fits perfectly! ETC.)
- Anything else you want to tell them? (I’m so glad you could celebrate with me. I hope you had fun. OR That was so thoughtful of you).
- Who are you? (Love, __________)
What are you thankful for these days? I hope you can use some of these ideas shown here to express it. I’ll be quite thankful if you do. 🙂
Writing thank yous is mandatory for my kids too. My mom taught me I needed to have three sentences-so that’s what I do with the kids.
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Yes, exactly!! ?
Yes, it’s quite simple, and you can make it fun!
These are all great ideas! We always try to send thank you notes & I try to let Little color them after I write. He’s still just 2, so writing isn’t in his skills set yet. ?
Same here — lots of ways to have the kids involved even if they can’t write yet.
Awesome tips. I love how you make the thank you come from the child- what a great idea.
Thanks! Hoping it becomes second nature to them at some point!