Why the Thank-You Note Isn't Dead at My House

I've been told my views on forcing my kids to write thank-you notes are old-fashioned and stuffy. Why not just make them send an email? What's wrong with a thank-you text or a phone call? I don't care if that's how things are done in this day and age. I think not only are handwritten thank-you cards proper etiquette, but they also help my kids practice their spelling and writing skills. 

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Everyone loves getting actual physical mail. (Well, mail that isn't coupon flyers or bills.) I have saved many handwritten notes that I've received throughout the years and I love rereading them. Especially when they are sentimental or from people who are no longer with me.

I want my kids to know that feeling, what it's like to open a shoe box and stumble upon a handwritten letter or note from someone and reread it again and either laugh or feel nostalgia. But in order for them to know that feeling, they also have to send mail to others, to take the time to compose a letter to a loved one or to thank him or her for sending a birthday or Christmas gift. Whenever my kids receive a letter in the mail, I remind them how good it makes them feel and I explain how good it makes someone else feel to receive mail from them.  

More from CafeMom: The Thank-You Notes You Wish Your Kid Would Write 

I do my best to make it fun. I buy them colorful notecards and stickers and always have stamps on hand. When they were little and couldn't form sentences, I would have them draw a picture of their gift and send that. I never corrected their spelling or grammar when they were first starting to write because I just wanted them to know the joys of composing a thank-you note. Now that they're school-age, I help them correct any mistakes they make. We bust out the thesaurus or look up words online to improve their vocabulary, and they like to think about the best ways they can express their gratitude for what they've received. Adding a photo of your kid opening the present is also a nice touch.

It may sound old-school, but I want to raise my kids to be readers and writers. I want them to understand how meaningful a kind thank-you can be and how their words can comfort or connect them to the people they love. Thank-you cards are one way of doing that, and if someone cares enough to send my kid a present, I want my kids to care enough to take the time to thank him or her in a thoughtful manner. I remind them about how excited they are to receive a gift and that their thank-you note recipient is just as excited to get mail from them.

It's a lesson I want my kids to treasure, especially when they're old like me and spending a quiet afternoon reading letters and notes yellowed with age, thinking of how someone's words can gladden a day.

Do you also have your kids write thank-you notes or is it just me?


Image via © SW Productions/Design Pics/Corbis

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