Kids Should Be Forced to Write Thank You Notes Whether They Like It or Not

Rant 26

child writing thank you noteSometimes it takes me a lot longer than it should to get them sent out, but ever since I was a little kid, writing thank you notes after receiving gifts hasn't ever been an option -- it's been a must.

I mean, if someone was kind enough to think of you and took the time to buy you a gift, the least you can do is thank them for it, right?

But sadly, it seems like the practice of sending handwritten thank you notes seems to be dying out, especially among kids. (Think about it for a second. How many have you received from the countless birthday parties your children have attended?)

Yes, it can be hard to find the time to do it. And yes, it can be pretty repetitive and tedious, particularly if you've received a ton of gifts. But forcing kids to write thank you notes is something that every parent should do.

Because kids who aren't taught to send thank you notes will grow into ungrateful adults who don't send thank you notes, and then they won't teach their kids to send thank you notes, and then we'll wind up with a society of people who don't give a rat's ass about showing appreciation to others. (And that will really stink.)

A few days ago, I finally got around to writing thank you cards for the gifts my son received for Christmas. (Yes, I know it's been almost a month, but things have been nuts around here.)

As I was writing them, it suddenly dawned on me that he's almost 7 years old, and he's known how to read and write for quite some time, and in that moment I wondered why in the hell I was writing them for him when he's perfectly capable of doing it himself. (Old habits die hard, I guess.)

It's definitely the right time for him to take over, so from here on out, my little guy will be writing his own thank you notes, whether he likes it or not. In fact, his birthday is at the beginning of March, and I think that's as good an occasion for him to start as any.

And I don't care how much grief he gives me or what kind of tricks he pulls to try and sucker me into writing them for him again -- I'm not backing down on this one. It's his turn to step up to the plate, and it's my responsibility to make writing thank you notes a habit he never breaks.

Do you make your kids write their own thank you notes? What age did you stop writing notes for them?


Image via one tiny spark/Flickr

discipline, birthdays


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handy... handy0318

Before my kids knew how to write, I had them dictate their notes to me to write down.  Once they learned to write their names, they would dictate everything then sign their own name.  Once they were in Kindergarten, they were responsible for the entire note.  One thing I've always insisted on is blank note cards, nothing pre-printed. They're now 13 and 15 and are very good at composing and sending thank you notes.


nonmember avatar JustSayin'

I don't even know a sinle soul who does thank you notes anymore. I think as long as you thank the person forthe thoughtful gift that is enough... I don't expect anyone to ever send me a thank you note and I'm okay with that. I will live ;0

purpl... purpleflower514

We do thank yous in person or over the phone. And that is good enough for me.

bella... bellacazzate

Is it common practice to send thank you notes for Christmas gifts? If so, I owe 33 years worth of thank you notes AND they need to be reciprocated! I've never heard of such a thing. 

It depends on the situation, but on the whole, the entire family is good about thank you notes, though sometimes we do other things instead (i.e. when we moved, one friend helped us out a lot, so we got him a membership for a years worth of craft beer deliveries... I think that worked in lieu of a formal note:)). 

Doomy234 Doomy234

I get what you're saying, but the reason I dont do thank you notes is because while it conveys gratitude, they are just going to get thrown away with all the other cards and notes you've ever received. Think about it, most people dont keep EVERY birthday or Christmas card they've ever received. I only save cards from very special occasions (invitations for friends weddings, baby showers, sweet 16, and 21st birthday).

I make sure that I verbally tell everyone thank you for their thoughtful gifts and save paper. They seem just as happy with a said thank you as with a card, so thats just the way we do things. We make sure our son says thank you and to those not around, we will make a call to thank them and tell them how much he appreciated and liked their gift.

Carme... Carmen8706

Not conveying any sort of gratitude is rude. I've decided not to send my sister any more gifts because she doesn't say thank you at all, much less write a note.  My grandpa decided not to send my cousins any more gifts either because they couldn't be bothered to say thank you either.  A note might be thrown away, but it's the least someone can do for another person's kindness.  Otherwise, pick up the damn phone.

Maggie Kolb

We are horrible about making the kids write thank you notes, and I have been pretty slack about it lately myself. I love getting a thank you note almost as much as I like getting a gift. I really should get back in the habit. Handwritten notes are the best.

Sierr... SierraLynn

We only really receive gifts from immediate family. My parents and brother and my dh's parents, brother and sister. We Skype and say thank you. Thank you notes are to old fashion for me. As a kid I had the option to either call people and thank them or write a note. I always called and made a conversation about it instead of a crappy note that would be thrown out anyway.

nonmember avatar Carolyn

Even to this day I encourage my sons 18 and 21 to write thank you cards for gifts they have received not in person.

I can't believe people would not enjoy receiving a note in the mail. Since it is so unusual these days people tend to remember it more!

corri... corrinacs

handy0318, you are right on.  I just put it into normal "routine" after presents and such :).  Its a lot of work, but it goes a long way.

To get the point across.  My husband's great grandmother passed away just a few days ago.  She told her daughter (his grandmother) how much she LOVED the letters and pictures I'd send her.  Many of them were thank you notes from the things she sent.  She would send them a dollar for Valentine's.  I'd send her a thank you with some pictures as a result. She took the time out of her day to think about my children (she lives in TX, I live in VA)....the least I could do is take some time out of my day to do the same for her :).  I would dictate the thank yous for my older son (now 5).  He writes most of them out now but his handwriting is pretty bad LOL.

But that's how much she appreciated it, that she spoke of it on her deathbed!  That's how much it means, folks.

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