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Gifts and Thank You Notes - Always a Dilemma

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Gifts and Thank You Notes - Always a Dilemma

We are now in the midst of the biggest gift giving season of the year. We are all excited about being able to give a special gift, carefully selected for someone. And, we are all excited about receiving something special as well. But nothing matches the excitement we see on our children's and grandchildren's faces when being given a gift, especially one that they know is exactly what they want. 

Whether the gift comes from Santa, mom or dad, a grandparent, or someone else, there are some social skills conventions that address gift receiving that your kids can practice now. The general rule of thumb is if a gift is given in person and the person is thanked for it at that time, that thanks is sufficient. If a gift is shipped or mailed, the person will want to know that it was received. Therefore, some kind of acknowledgment is appropriate. Gifts among immediate or close family members are usually exempt from a thank you note. For all other situations, a hand-written thank you shows your good manners and social skills. 

Most kids (and even adults) balk at being asked to write thank you notes. Keep in mind, that this training will come in handy when they have a job interview and will need to write a note to the interviewer. In our high tech society, email, text, and phones have rendered the hand-written thank you note almost obsolete. Ask your kids to act out the following POEM. It may just encourage them to write that note. Even young children can draw a picture and tell you what to write on the picture to convey their thanks. 


Part 1: Giving gifts is fun to do 

And making them is, too 

Presents and gifts show others you care 

I like getting them, don't you? 

Part 2: Mom says thank you notes are right

For gifts and favors, too 

Who says a note makes a kid polite? 

I don't like writing them, do you? 

Part 3: "Thank you so much" 

"How thoughtful of you" 

"I love it and can't wait to use it" 

Are some of the things that you can say 

Never say "Yuk" and refuse it 

Part 4: My friends send thanks by email 

Or simply call by phone 

If I send thanks by snail mail 

I'll be writing all alone 

Part 5: I like doing what's right 

Notes could be fun, too 

I want to be a kid who's polite 

If I write them, won't you?

Thank you note writing is a skill that may not seem important in today's world, but later, in a job interview situation with equally qualified candidates, the person with the most accomplished social skills, including that note, will get the job.  Teaching this social skill early will result in your kids feeling confident that they know the right thing to do in many social situations.  This gesture also helps kids learn to be thankful, show appreciation, caring, and kindness towards those who have graced them with a gift.  And the grandparents will be pleased to know that the kids are learning these important skills.

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