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Children and Thank You Notes

children and thank you notes

November is the month to give thanks, but with the gift-giving season coming up, it is important to teach kids giving thanks when they receive a present.

Expressing thanks is something that a child can do from an early age.  If a child can talk, they can express “thank you.”  Teaching children to send a thank you note is teaching them about appreciation.  It is a good idea to explain to children that when they receive a gift, the person that gave them the gift took the time to select the gift just for them.  A child should also be told that the gift-giver spent money on the gift, wrapped it, and delivered it (by mail or in person). Children should be taught that a thank you note expresses appreciation to the person who gave the present, and if it was mailed, a thank you note lets the gift-giver know that the gift arrived.

For very young children who cannot read or write, there are other ways to express thanks in a note.  Toddlers can draw a picture of themselves with the gift or a picture drawn with the gift-giver in mind.  An adult can add a note, such as “Adam created this drawing in appreciation for your gift of his puzzle.  Thank you!”

As children are beginning to write, there are many fill-in-the-blank thank you card templates.  It is a great start to get kids to think about how thank you notes should be written.  Here are a few websites that offer free templates:

Kids who can read and write should be able to write thank you notes on their own.  Encourage these children to include the specific gift and how they will use it.  (Example: “Thank you for the puzzle.  I will have fun putting it together.”  or “Thank you for the money.  I plan to buy a new Barbie Doll.”)

(From Tips For Teaching Kids The Value of Thank You Notes)

Think of the educational value of writing notes.

Some teachers and child care providers have children write notes in conjunction with a writing lesson. Some ideas from teachers include writing a thank you note to parents to express appreciation for their support during the school year or to thank them for bringing snacks or treats to a special class party. One provider has her pre-schoolers write thank you notes each Valentine’s Day to their parents for their love. A first-grade teacher has children write notes of thanks each Thanksgiving.


16 Books to Teach Kids About Good Manners

September is Kids Good Manners Month!  It is never too early to start teaching manners to children.  Teaching manners at a young age can help children develop into respectful, empathetic individuals.  Manners don’t come naturally to children.  They must be taught to children, explained, and reinforced.


“While it’s normal for preschoolers to still be self-centered, teaching manners reminds them that other people in the world matter and deserve respect,” says Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Temple University, in Philadelphia.


good manners


Here is a collection of books (old and new) that can help toddlers and preschool children learn manners.


How to Teach Manners in the Classroom

(excerpt from How to Teach Manners in Preschool – Pre-K Pages)

When it comes to teaching manners in the classroom, start by role playing different please and thank you scenarios.

Sit in a circle with the children and practice passing an item around the circle as each child says the following phrases: “Please pass the ____” and “Thank you”

Play this game several times the first few weeks of school but you also need to reinforce the skill throughout the day and the year.

I might say “Remember your manners during center time, how do we ask for something?”


Reinforcing Manners

Whenever you notice your students need a little reminder about how to use manners, stop and play a quick game to reinforce the skill.

If you want your students to wait for a turn, make a game out of it and play that game with them frequently until they learn how to do it. Then be sure you reinforce it frequently as well.

There are many games that support the development of self-regulation, or waiting for turn such as Red Light, Green LightFreeze, and Duck, Duck, Goose.

If you make learning the skill fun and turn it into a game your year will go more smoothly.