Tag Archives: appreciation

Gratitude: Thank You Cards

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We had a birthday this month in our house. Which meant a big birthday party with lots of kids, games, cake, and of course presents! We try not to go overboard on the gifts with our kids since we want them to appreciate what they have and not be a “gimme” or “I want” spoiled child. This can be difficult, especially at holiday time and birthday time. Children expect to get gifts, and while I do love buying and giving them things they love I also want them to want less and love what they have. One of the ways we try to keep this appreciation and gratitude alive in our home is through thank you cards. Every time my children receive a gift they write a thank you card to the gift giver. We try to make sure a lot of thought and love goes into each card.

We explain that each present they received was bought with love, and thought. That their friends and family spent a lot of time thinking of such a wonderful gift, then took the time to wrap and decorate that beautiful gift for them, and that they watched in anticipation and excitement as they opened that gift. That is a very involved event. They did all of that specifically for them, and that in return they should show the same amount of love and gratitude as well.

We began our thank you cards at a very young age. Even the two year old writes thank you cards. With the younger children we take a picture of the child playing with or wearing the new gift. We then turn it into a postcard and let the child draw, write, and color on the back to show their love and appreciation of the gift. The older children must write in words, as best as their ability allows, explaining why they loved the gift and how they are using it, and how happy they are that they received that gift.

Thank you cards started when I was a child. My mother always made sure that my siblings and I sent out thank you cards for all the gifts we received. Not only did she believe it was good manners, she felt it was an important way to teach us to appreciate what we had gotten. I truly think that it did. By making thank you card writing fun with special pens, markers, paints, photos, and stickers we looked forward to writing them. But we also had to write a different card to every person. We could not just write “thank you for the gift.” This was not a pro-forma card. We had to make each person feel that their gift meant something to us. Because they did. To is day I remember special gifts from my grandparents and great grandparents because of the cards I had written to them. To my surprise they remembered them too. When they passed away we found several of my handmade thank you cards in a drawer. Not only did my cards mean something to me they meant something to them. The circle of gratitude went on, now I am thankful that I meant enough to them that they kept the cards.

No matter what your reason for making a thank you card try to make it fun. Let your children try new ways to make them whether they do postcards, folding cards, letters, or even video thank you’d where they sing, dance, talk, or do something else to show how much they appreciate their gifts.

A Well-Mannered Child

We live in a world of gadgets, Facebook, twitter, and email. A world where if you need to get in touch with someone you send a quick text or short email, usually without a salutation, correct grammar, or even in full sentences. We ask questions in a way that makes them appear to be a statement, and we very rarely hear those important words, please, thank you, and you’re welcome. As adults we have become quite lazy in our more laid back world. Because of the way the world has changed we just go right along in our lives without really doing much extra, we mostly just try to get by. While some have managed to continue to use the manners and etiquette they were taught as children these pleasantries have mostly gone by the wayside, and our children are the ones suffering.

So many of today’s children just expect to get the things they want. They have not known a world other than the way we live now where everything is easily available and communications happen faster than the blink of an eye. So it isn’t much of a surprise that they haven’t picked up on pleasantries and manners, they haven’t seen much of them in action. That is why we need to do more to help our children learn or remember the importance of “please” and “thank you.”

What are some easy ways to get your kids attention and start teaching them these things? The most important thing to do is change your own behavior. Remember that saying “monkey see monkey do.” Recently in our home we have been prompting our daughter to say please or thank you when she asks for something. Our biggest problem is she is only 18 months. She doesn’t learn by being told to do something, she learns by example. So we knew that even though we sometimes used those important words it was important that we begin using them all the time, and respond politely to each other when we need help around the house. So now at our house you can hear the P and T words all day long. It was slow going at first, but now our daughter asks please whenever she wants something. Practice makes perfect.

So if you are looking to teach your child about manners you can try a few of these tried and true tips:

Model good manners- say please and thank you when you need or want something no matter where you are or who you are addressing. Don’t interrupt when otherwise are taking. Listen when someone is talking or asking you something.

Make thankfulness a part of your routine- when someone in your household has a birthday, wedding, party, or even just has a good friend do them a favor be sure to thank them. Thank you cards are an excellent way to thank someone. And children can get in on the card making.

Appreciate what you have: Talk with your kids about appreciating the good things in life. Share with them that not everyone is as fortunate as we are. And help them to make a difference in the world by volunteering somewhere or donating clothes or toys.
It may be slow going at first but the little things matter. So when you see your kids forgetting to say please or thank you remind them. A simple prompt works wonders. As you and your is start following these simple tips you will find that everyone’s manners are improving!