Straight after school today (well, after homework and fending off requests for TV and snacks), I will be sitting down with my six-year-old to help him with a stack of thank you letters for the birthday presents he received recently.
It will take a while (he got a lot of presents), but I really believe it is something important and therefore worth spending the time and effort doing. We’ve made little thank you cards, letters and pictures since the children were able to place a hand print on a piece of paper, and now it is lovely that the eldest can write his own notes and draw his own lovely pictures. He will take great pride and care in getting his spellings right and, although he will need me to help him spell bigger words like ‘Mythological Creatures Book’ and ‘Lego Ninjago’, he will enjoy the process – especially the part where he gets to put the stamp on the envelope and put the letters in the post box. Apart from anything else, it's a great way for him to practice his writing and allows me to see which letters/words he may be struggling with.
Saying thank you may seem like a simple gesture, and one which could be done much more efficiently by me sending an email or text message to pass on the thanks on his behalf, but involving him in the process seems to help him understand why he is doing it – plus, the Grandparents love a bit of homemade stuff arriving through the letterbox, and anything that keeps the Grandparents happy is a good thing in my book!
So, for birthdays and Christmases to come, we’ll be keeping up our tradition of personal thank you letters, until the inevitable day when snail mail is as distant a memory as a horse and cart.
What about you – do you encourage your children to write thank you cards?