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Getting Kids to Write Thank You Notes
By Elizabeth Pantley


Doing the things that demonstrate good manners isn't always easy or fun. But having good manners will help your child have better friendships, happier family relationships, and an easier time adjusting to the nuances of our society. No child is born with good manners. Manners are definitely something that need to be taught. Over time, and with practice, your child will naturally begin to repeat the things she has been taught from a young age.

One of the social graces that is often overlooked is writing of the Thank You Note. It is so important that children learn from a young age that it is appropriate to write a thank you note anytime they receive a gift, or anytime they have been a guest at someone's home.

Children will learn what they are taught, and here are some ways to begin the habit of writing thank you notes.


Get the motion going: Soon after your child receives a gift, sit down with her and help her compose and write a thank you note. Put the paper in front of her, hand her a pen or crayon and suggest an opening line, "Let's write Grandma's thank you note. Maybe you want to say . . . "


Take advantage of their computer skills: Have your child compose thank-you notes on the computer. Most kids enjoy working on the computer and are comfortable with it. Created with care, a computer-generated note, with an added personal comment, is an acceptable way for kids to show their appreciation.


Make it fun: Thank you notes don't have to be boring! A child can be encouraged to get creative: a collage, a photo, a drawing - there are many fun ways of getting the point across. What's most important is that the giver feels acknowledged.


Thank You Note first/Play second! Create a new family rule: You may only play with a gift after the thank you note has been written. This will get the job done quicker than anything else!

Excerpted with permission by NTC/Contemporary Publishing Group Inc. from Perfect Parenting, The Dictionary of 1,000 Parenting Tips by Elizabeth Pantley, copyright 1999.

About the Author

Parenting educator, Elizabeth Pantley, is the president of Better Beginnings, Inc., a family resource and education company.

She is a regular radio show guest and often quoted as a parenting expert in magazines such as Parents, Parenting, Working Mother, Woman's Day, Good Housekeeping and Redbook.

She publishes a newsletter, Parent Tips, that is distributed in schools nationwide, and is the author of Kid Cooperation: How to Stop Yelling, Nagging and Pleading and Get Kids to Cooperate.


Other Articles By Elizabeth Pantley


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