After every one of my kids’ birthday celebrations – or any other gift-giving event – I’m faced with the same challenge: the thank you. The art of genuine gratitude is such an important skill for kids to learn but a really tough one to teach. After opening gifts, my kids sometimes sound like robots parroting back my prompts to say thank you.
In an effort to elicit more authentic thank yous, I’ve decided to lean into my kids’ strengths. For my eight-year-old son, this means tapping into his love of talking by coordinating thank you calls. On the other hand, my three-and-a-half-year-old daughter finds joy in posing for thank you photographs or coloring pictures.
Regardless of your child’s personality, there’s a way to say thank you that fits who they are. Here are seven ideas to help your child deliver a genuine thank you to their friends and family.
1. For the writer
The traditional thank you note is perfect for those who enjoy writing. If your child needs some ideas on what to include in their message, create a template to help them get started. Here is the guide I wrote to help my son write his thank you notes:
Thank you for your thoughtful gift. I really like it because ______________ and I can’t wait to __play/read/use__ it. It looks really _cool/fun/interesting__. Thank you for helping make my birthday special!
As an added bonus, writing thank you notes is a great way to sneak in penmanship and spelling practice. If your child can’t write yet, they can dictate the note to you and sign their name the best way they know how.
2. For the photogenic
If your kid is always asking you to take their photo, snap a picture of them using each gift they received. Send the photo via text or email, or make the thank you even more special by printing and mailing the image. Regardless of how you deliver it, friends and family will appreciate this memento of your child enjoying their gift.
3. For the talker
Help your chatterbox tap into their gift of gab by making thank you calls. Even the best talkers might need some guidance on how to have a smooth phone conversation. Role playing before the call can help them practice how to greet the person, ways to thank them for their gift and questions to ask during the conversation.
4. For the actor
Kids who love being in the spotlight will enjoy creating thank you videos. Help your child create a short video of them using the gift and explaining what they like best about it. Older kids who are into video editing can even add music and other special effects to make this multimedia thank you message extra special.
5. For the artist
Set your child up with their favorite art supplies and let their creativity shine. They can create a thank you drawing, painting, coloring page, collage or whatever their heart desires. Once their masterpiece is complete, your kid can either hand deliver the thank you artwork or send it in the mail.
6. For the crafter
A thank you project is a great way to help your crafter show their gratitude. Make paper flowers, paint rocks or create jewelry – the options are limitless. If your child needs some inspiration, a quick search on Pinterest will provide a plethora of ideas.
7. For the socializer
Turn the thank you into an event by inviting the gift giver over for a visit. With your child, they can play with or use the gift they gave. Not only will your child enjoy having quality time with an adult or friend they love, they can also practice the art of being a host or hostess.
Regardless of how your child says thank you, gift givers will love receiving a sincere act of appreciation. And your child will gain valuable practice in mastering the lifelong skill of being grateful.