Nurturing Appreciation

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People have often told me how impressed they were to have received a hand-written, personal ‘thank you’ card from my daughter. My child is not just naturally appreciative and this, like most things, takes effort to instill. Here are a few tips to help your child get in this good habit:

Teach your children to send thank you notes cards

1. Set the example.
You cannot tell your kids to send thank you cards when you don’t do it. When you sit down to write a few notes, invite your child to sit with you and maybe ask them to add a small drawing of their own.

2. Let them express themselves.
In the beginning, they can start off with a simple ‘Dear So-and-So’, ‘Thank you for ____’, and ‘From ____’. Encourage stickers and doodles on the card itself and on the envelope. Later, their expressions of gratitude will grow and they will WANT to write more.

3. Choosing stationary.
It makes my daughter excited to write cards when it is a design she chose herself. When it’s a card she likes, I always notice a slight smile as she begins to write and a subtle giddiness to share it with the person she is addressing it to.

4. Do it together.
For the past 6-7 years, we make it a point to sit down together and write out a few cards at a time. I will have my list of people I need to thank (on behalf of myself and the family) and she will have hers. I usually give her some paper to practice what she wants to write and she’ll run it by me to see if it’s okay.

We always try to teach our kids how important it is to SAY ‘thank you’ but teaching them how to SHOW it is a wonderful gift that they can share.

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About Author

TerriAnn van Gosliga is the main writer at Cookies & Clogs and Driving Mamas. Born & raised in the SF Bay Area but loves to travel. She's been married to her best friend for 15 years, homeschools her 14-year-old daughter, and has an accident-prone lab mix dog.


  1. I think it’s so nice that you have taken the time to develop an attitude of thankfulness in your daughter. I also tried to do that when my kids were young. I had them write thank you notes for any gifts they received that they didn’t get to say “thank you” in person for. It’s kind of a “lost art” today but very important.

    • It definitely something that has proved to be beneficial. It’s not always easy to teach appreciation as it’s not something tangible. Still, it really makes me proud when she initiates it or says, “Oh, I need to send them a card” πŸ™‚

  2. I think this is an dying art. Too many people don’t see the need to sit down and thank those who have helped us at some point in our lives. Great Post!

  3. What a great idea and way to share this with your children. I don’t have any myself, but I like to think when I do this, I share it with my friends, that sometimes pen to paper has more meaning.

    • This in no way only applies to children. EVERYone appreciates an honest handwritten thank you. Even the sourest person will get a little smile to find such an appreciate note in the mail πŸ™‚

  4. We do thank you cards after every birthday and holiday! The kids love to do it and it’s just become a habit for us. I love knowing that other families take the time to do this as well!

    • Well, in many areas I can seriously improve πŸ˜› I am glad that she has really started to do this on her own though. Without me even knowing she will write thank you notes for the cleaning staff in hotels, pictures for waiters at restaurants, and, today, I happened to see a ‘thank you’ card at my mom’s house from her. I had no idea she made that! We’re probably going to get to the point when she’s reminding me to send a card!

  5. Awesome, awesome, awesome ideas! The first tip was right on point “lead by example”. That’s the number one way to instill a desirable trait in your child. So easy to do, but so easily forgotten. Great piece!

  6. It’s always just been a requirement around here, too, so it’s just a given to the kids now that if they get a gift, they need to write a thank-you note. Less-concrete things are harder to teach children to write thank-you’s for, though; they don’t understand the intangibles as well.

  7. I love this post! We do the same thing and have since the kids could hold a crayon!

    Here is our take on it:

    I’m so happy to hear that others do the same things we do!

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