The Art of Saying Thank You

By Lindsey Johnson

‘Tis the season of giving thanks for blessings big and small. What better time to instill the practice of gratitude with your kids? 

The art of writing thank you notes is teetering on the brink of extinction but this small gesture can brighten the day of its recipients. As adults we know how important it is to send a thank you when we receive gifts of any kind. Now, getting our kids to do the same can take some coaxing. Not only is this a lifelong skill that they can take along with them, teaching them that showing gratitude can make the giver feel appreciated and is a wonderful way to boost the spirits of the one saying thanks. 

5 REASONS to encourage your children to write thank you letters: 

1. It cultivates a sense of gratitude 

Harvard Health reviewed several studies in the field of positive psychology and reports that a regular gratitude practice can make you happier. Recognizing and appreciating objects, experiences, people, nature and any number of other things can bring a feeling of happiness. 

2. It improves writing skills 

Writing thank you notes is a low threat opportunity to practice writing skills such as sentence structure, capitalization, punctuation, spelling and penmanship. Many children find this much more rewarding than worksheets in grammar class! 

3. Allows them to express creativity 

Even if your child isn’t quite ready to write a full thank you letter, they can draw a picture to show their appreciation. Each letter is unique and heartfelt. 

4. Shows respect and appreciation for others 

Acknowledging someone’s kindness shows respect and appreciation for their contribution. This simple act recognizes the positive impact they had, whether they knew it or not.

5. Teaches them etiquette 

While etiquette classes were popular once upon a time, these days it’s up to parents to teach their children manners. Not everyone writes handwritten notes anymore. This is an opportunity for your child to set themself apart by spending a few minutes saying thanks. 

When is an appropriate time to write a thank you note? 

When it comes to showing thanks, there is no such thing as too much! If there’s a question on whether or not a thank you note is warranted, err on the side of writing it. 

Some good opportunities for writing notes include: 

• Receiving birthday gifts 

• Receiving holiday gifts or foods 

• Visits from out-of-town guests 

• Teachers and administrators during Teacher Appreciation Week or at the end of the school year 

• Anytime your child feels especially grateful for someone! 

• Receiving graduation gifts 

• Receiving gifts after a religious celebration: Confirmation, Bat Mitzvah 

• After being invited to spend the weekend with friends or family 

Thank you notes can be short and sweet. While there is no right or wrong way to express gratitude, a few sentences thanking the person for the specific kindness is a safe bet. This year, help your children begin a new practice of gratitude with handwritten notes. 

For more inspiration, visit our website at for downloadable templates! 



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