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Written Thank You Notes & Why They Matter

Now that the holiday season is behind us and the decorations and gifts have been put away….have you written your thank you notes? How about your children? Did they text grandma or just skip it all together?
I was shocked recently to hear a panel of 3 moms on a popular morning television show suggest that a handwritten thank you note from children wasn’t necessary. A text or email could do the trick. Really? When did this happen? 
Today, there are more options than ever for affordable children’s stationery. All of the above examples came from Tiny Prints and took me just seconds to find. 
Most children will groan when you tell them that they need to write thank you notes. That’s ok….that’s the same reaction you probably get when you tell them no dessert without eating their vegetables or it’s time to take a break from their screens. 
Writing a thank you note becomes the recognition that someone
1) thought about them
2) purchased something for them
3) wrapped something for them
4) mailed or delivered something to them
So, why is that deserving of written thanks and not just a quick text? 
I believe it is the level of the interaction that deserves an equal reciprocation. A thoughtful, real world kindness deserves a thoughtful, real world thanks, i.e., a thank you note for a gift. Just as an abbreviated, quick question deserves an abbreviated quick response, i.e., a text. 
Writing a thank you note can also be a learning opportunity. 
1) They can practice their penmanship, spelling and grammar.
2) They can be creative…use colored pens, pencils, crayons and stickers to decorate the note. 
3) They learn how good it feels to think about someone else.
So, how do you make it fun?
1) Order personalized stationery for your child. There is a sense of pride when something bears their name. Or make up something on your computer for free. 
2) Get fun stamps….my sons enjoyed selecting ones from the new Harry Potter series
3) Write out a basic script for them to follow
4) Do it together. I sat down with my sons, ages 9 & 11 and we all wrote our thank you notes at the same time. Like most things, model the behavior you want them to have. 
Ultimately, when they need to write a thank you note after a job interview or in appreciation of a teacher’s recommendation, they’ll have the experience and tools to do it right. 
Good manners will never go out of style! Or will they?