Being thankful is a skill we could all stand to benefit from. Thankfulness stems from a grateful heart that has been touched in a significant way. The person who shows gratitude is a person who stands out from the crowd. That’s why it is important to teach our kids the proper etiquette when it comes to writing a thank you note.
Newborns and Toddlers
Thankfulness, like everything else in life, is modeled in the home from day one. Telling your baby “thank you” when she gives you something sets the stage for more formal instruction down the road.
Pre-school and school-aged children catch an environment of gratitude in their homes – or not. If giving thanks is practiced, it will be picked up. If mom and dad never say “thank you” or don’t demonstrate an attitude of gratitude, neither will the kids. Never underestimate a heart of gratitude and the power of example.
Once a child begins to write, simple thank you notes can be written. What a beautiful way to practice one’s letters by writing grandma a thank you note. Teach young children to reciprocate a gift with a verbal “thank you” when possible and a written follow up.
This is also an ideal time to begin teaching your kids how to address envelopes, use stamps and pick up the mail. The saying in our household is “you won’t receive mail if you don’t send mail.”
The same principle applies with email and social media. Imagine a tsunami of thankfulness that one can begin using applications and networking opportunities.
Teenagers who have been taught to be thankful will find it natural to be thankful. Allow them opportunities on the Internet to show their thanks but also remind them from time to time to send a hand-written thank you card for their birthday and Christmas gifts and for other special moments. Have a ‘thank you writing party’ as a family.
Young adults have a plethora of opportunities to be thankful: graduation gifts, employment opportunities, baby and wedding gifts. A simple reminder to your young adult to send out thank you’s will work if you have raised them properly. If not, sit them down and stress the importance of connecting with others via a hand-written thank you.
Saying thanks means giving thanks. Look around you to notice how few people do it. Choose to be different.