As parents and grandparents, it is our job to teach our little darlings the ways of the world. As we've just finished the season of excess and gift giving – how about reminding children (and maybe yourself) about the art and impact of the thank you note?
People put a lot of love, time and money into buying gifts and hosting friends over the holiday period. Acknowledging this effort is a return gesture of love.
A handwritten thank you note needn't take a long time to write, but it is always appreciated. If your children are too small to write a note – a thank you picture is just as good. You might suggest that they draw a picture of the present they received, or the favourite time they recall (as a thank you for staying with a relative or friend).
You can take the opportunity to help them write down a simple note of thanks as well, encouraging them to sound out the words if they are learning to read or write.
For older children, it is a wonderful opportunity to teach them about gratitude. Having a meal at someone's home, or staying with them as a sleepover or holiday is a treat and a priviledge. While they should also say thank you as they leave, a thank you note with a sincere message leaves a lasting impression and will almost guarantee a return invitation!
You can expand the experience by going for a walk to post the note immediately. Finishing the job in a timely fashion is important too – chat along the way about how the recipient will feel when they open their mailbox and find something fun inside!
Thanks you notes between adults are also equally well received. If you have been to a friend's home, a quick text or email the next day to say how much you enjoyed yourself is not only good manners, it will make all the host's work feel worthwhile. We all love to feel appreciated.