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.