June is a busy month for farewells. Kids are saying goodbye to teachers, school staff, childcare providers, and coaches. This is a perfect time to teach children to say thank you to the people who help enrich their life. There are lots of fun and easy ways to say thank you that work for every age. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.
Thank You Card
The classic thank you card is a good place to begin. So many of us cringe when we think of them, having been sat down by a well-meaning mother in front of a pile of blank notes that we had to complete and send off when we were kids. I definitely pushed back when I was younger and had to be reminded over and over to finish. Learning how to express gratitude is an important skill, though, and one that kids should learn, even if we have to encourage them to do it gently.
Luckily, there are countless options for thank you notes to keep things interesting and creative for kids while still teaching them to be grateful. It helps to start young too. For children who cannot print yet, have them draw a picture or ask them what they want to say and write the note out for them. There are also many options on Pinterest, where you can find free printable sheets that fit your child’s ability. There are ones that have a spot for a picture, ones where they can fill in the blank, and even ones that are similar to a Mad-Lib where kids can choose what they want to say.
Once your child can start writing sentences, encourage them to write the whole note themselves. These do not have to be fancy cards from the store. It can simply be a sheet of paper folded in half. Have them color on the front and then practice writing on the inside. You can keep it really simple. The three-sentence format is a good place to start.
- Thank you for…
- I like it because… or It is very….
- You are very… or Thanks for celebrating my birthday
As kids get older, challenge them to include more details. Especially when thanking teachers or coaches, adding a memory or special story really makes the thank you card meaningful. It also helps the child reflect on the impact their teacher or coach has had on their life. This is a common format for a more detailed thank you note.
- Dear ….
- Express gratitude:
- Thank you for….
- Add details:
- My favorite memory from this school year was…
- I cannot wait to spend my birthday money on….
- Or I plan to use your present….
- Look to the future:
- I look forward to seeing you at….
- Hope to see you soon…
- I will come back and say hi next year
- Repeat thanks:
- Thank you again for…
- With love,
- Many thanks,
Sometimes we do not have the time to help our kids write out a pile of thank you notes, but that does not mean we should not encourage them to say thank you. Family members and friends will appreciate a phone call to let them know that a present was received and appreciated. My parents love a video call even more. The kids can show them their birthday presents, and they tell them thank you face to face. This has been especially helpful over the last year.
If you are really pressed for time, a thank you text is another option. It is not as personal but is still a good way to reach out. They can use the three-sentence format or the longer version as a template. In the end, it is just about showing gratitude, and that is what counts.
Helping kids say thank you at the end of the school year, sports season, or holiday, is a good way for them to recognize the important people in their lives. It is a skill they will use throughout their lives as they navigate school and work. It does not need to be complicated to be sincere, but if you try to make it a little fun and creative, telling others thank you will become a habit and not a chore.
Mary Weggeland grew up in Alaska but has called Oregon home for the last ten years. She lives in Sherwood with her husband and three kids. When she is not writing, Mary enjoys reading fiction, making crafts, and baking desserts. She also loves road trips and exploring Oregon with her family.