Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Thank-you cards

A great literacy activity.

Your kids have probably just received a bunch of gifts, and I'm betting that at least some of the senders weren't in the room when they were opened.

So that means thank-you cards.

They're not optional. In our house if you don't want to write a thank-you card, that's fine - just give back the gift.
(Ooh, that sounds awful, but I do say it with a twinkle in my voice so he never actually chooses that option.)

How do you ensure sending thank-you cards doesn't turn into an activity that he comes to loathe?

Make it fun
* Offer options. Send gramma an e-mail (which the child types). Or text gramma.

* Make it an art project. The note could be a picture, a painting, origami, or just about anything else that you can write "thank-you" on.

* Send a photo. Have her put on the new shirt she got (or hold the toy); take a picture; and print it (at Shoppers Drug Mart or even on your black and white printer). Have the child write a couple of words on the back.

* Keep it short. Don't force your kid to write a two-pager. A couple of sentences will do.

* Give them the words. Tell your child: "Write something like, Dear Grampa, Thank you for the book. I'm thinking of you. Love, Simon." Then, he'll probably add something on his own.

* Younger children will enjoy putting their return address on the envelope, sticking a stamp on it and mailing it. (You can even let the child write gramma's address on the envelope herself - if it's illegible, just write it again, yourself, on the other side.)

* Have you ever explained how mail gets to gramma? Kids love that story, and it makes writing a thank-you note part of something bigger.

* Make sure gramma calls, e-mails or writes back when she receives your child's note. That provides your child with a reward that she'll remember the next time she has to write thank-you notes.

* If you have no one to send a card to, why not send a thank-you note to Santa? You might even get a letter back.

* Write thank-you notes yourself. Let your child see you doing it, too.

* Send a thank-you note to your child. Let him see how fun it is to get one.

* Don't make your child write a million notes. They can do one or two, and just sign any others which you write.

Start slowly, but make sure that every time they get a gift from someone distant, they write a note or send a e-mail. It's a lifelong habit your child will be thankful you passed along.

I used to send gifts to more relatives, but I stopped doing it when I never received a thank-you card or even a phone call. So that's another thing - kids who send thank-you notes tend to get more presents!
The beautiful thank-you notes in this picture are from my son's teachers. I think it's fantastic that teachers give kids thank-you notes; it really helps them see how important and thoughtful thank-you notes are.

1 comment:

The Book Chook said...

Great ideas here! My favourite is the one about not making it a chore. Unfortunately we adults tend to have our own ideas about what constitutes writing. There are so many easy ways to make it fun that kids will enjoy, and begin to adopt as their own.