Mind Your Manners Monday: Thank You!

Now that the holiday season is officially behind us it is time to take down our ornaments, stockings and trees. As we scramble to make room for the new we must not forget to thank those who have given to us so generously. This is especially true of children.

I have created Mind Your Manners Monday with hopes that we can all do our best to respect others and be polite. (Part of my betterment/self improvement resolution for me as well as this blog.) Many of these posts will be geared toward our children. As parents we need to set the example, and often we could use a little refreshment ourselves.

The first Mind Your Manners Monday post is about the Thank You Note and getting your children in the habit of writing them in a positive manner so that this does not become a dreaded chore.

I have always had my children write their own Thank You notes. When they were too young to write, I would ask them to draw an illustration of the gift on a hand made card. As the parent, I would thank the gift giver on behalf of my child either on the card or on a separate piece of paper that I placed inside the card.

As my children grew they were expected to write a little more.

  • At 4 I expect Alexander to write his name under his picture.
  • At 5 I expect him to write a sentence phonetically. I will then jot down a little note underneath his.
  • At 6 I expect a proper salutation as well as a sentence or two.
  • By 7 or 8, depending on your child's writing abilities and fine motor skills I expect a little detail about the gift my children are writing about.
  • And by 10, I expect my daughter to write at least a paragraph. (Some children can do this earlier.)
Rebecca still likes to make her own note cards. She is very artistic and the recipients, generally family, members do like to receive her art.

If your child is not terribly artistic there are some wonderful note cards out there for purchase. I really dislike any fill in the blank note card. I find this terribly impersonal and lazy. They do not teach good letter writing skills or etiquette.

We do try to make writing thank you notes fun.

For younger children you can use white or colored paper, stickers, crayons or a note card that suits their personality. It's best to turn thank you writing into a project as opposed to a chore.

My 8 year old received a digital camera from Santa this year. We will print out one of the images on his camera, place it on a blank card and this will be come the actual thank you card. He will write his note inside.

When my daughter was 8 she created her own Thank You cards. We purchased simple tent cards at Staples and she drew 4 different pictures. We then scanned and copied the pictures onto more tent cards. In fact, she created a Christmas card for us one year using this technique too!

I think Alexander would have fun creating some cards with paint. He'll paint something abstract and colorful onto some paper that we will let dry. I will then scan and print out the image onto note cards.

According to Emily Post, "It is not necessary to write a thank-you note, when a gift is opened and the donor is thanked personally at the time of opening. If the gifts are not opened in front of the donors, the child must write a personal note mentioning the gift by name to each donor." I strongly disagree and think that a hand written, or drawn, thank you note is a must regardless of whether a gift has been opened in front of the giver.

As parents we must set the example.

If I am invited to a party or a dinner I often send out a quick note thanking the hostess for a wonderful evening. If I am hosting a party and I get a particularly nice hostess gift, I will thank the gift giver with a short note.

I attended a baby shower for a mother in my daughter's class last month. I gave a generous gift card as a gift as this mother is expecting twins and thought that she could put the money to use for strollers, cribs or other necessary items that she'll need to purchase. Truth be told that I am quite annoyed I never received a Thank You note. I was thanked in person, both at the party and the next day at school, but I think a proper, written thank you was, is, necessary.

Below is an example of a thank you note written by a child. (It is Rebecca's thank you to my parents.)

Dear Moo and Popsy,

Thank you very, very, very, very much for the Uggs that I have wanted for a long time. They are very comfy and these ones do not give me blisters like my other ones did. They go with everything I wear and they go perfectly with my brand new fuzzy brown Northface jacket that Grandma gave me. And now I can be triplets with my two best friends!

I do not want school to start at all even though I love my teacher and my friends. (I do not like Math!)

I can't wait to see you again for Popsy's and my Birthday!



The above cards are from Lilly Pulitzer, Boatman Geller, Kate Spade for Crane and Crane

Stay tuned for upcoming Mind Your Manners Monday posts from some of our favorite bloggers: LPC author of  Privilege, Catherine, author of The Blushing Hostess, and Miss Janice, author of Etiquette with Miss Janice, and a relatiely new blogger, nationally renowned etiquette and lifestyle expert, Joy Weaver author of All Things Refined