Birthday gift etiquette, part two: Thank-you notes

Filed under: Preschoolers, Big Kids, Holidays

Earlier today I asked how you all felt about wish lists for a child's birthday, specifically a wish list that asked for cash. In the comments, CLM wrote about her childhood birthday parties and the simple gifts her friends brought. "I loved getting each and every one. I was not quite so thrilled about having to write thank you cards to each gift-giver!"

Ah, the thank you note. Let's talk about that, shall we?

My sons will turn five and seven, respectively, very soon. My almost-five-year-old can write his name on his own, but that's about it; I write his thank you notes (he dictates) and then he signs them. My nearly-seven-year-old, however, can write fairly fluidly (although not usually legibly, but whatever), and I'm thinking that this may be the birthday where I hand over the writing of the thank you notes entirely to him. It won't be a speedy process, but I think it teaches a good lesson, and honestly, they're each only going to have two or three friends for their parties, so it's not like they will have to write 200 thank you notes to write.

However, I seem to be the last parent in the world making my kids write actual thank you notes. Lately I've noticed a new trend in thank you cards: pre-written, fill-in-the-blank cards. Have you seen these? They say " Dear _______, Thank you for the _________. It is really _________. Your friend, _________." The child (or, let's be honest, the parent) fills in the blanks and voila! Instant thank you note!

I hate those things. Oh sure, I can see how, for a younger child (say, my almost-five-year-old) they might be a nice way to get the kid writing his own notes (he only has to write four or five words, after all) but most of the ones I get are either from older kids, who CAN write, or are filled in by the parents. I say no pre-written cards! Write a proper thank you note!

However, the pre-printed thank you note irritates me less than the party favor with the attached note that says, "Thanks for coming to my party! Your friend, Joey." Handed out by a parent (true story) who says, "Look, now we don't have to write thank you notes!" Do you see why these birthday parties make me crabby?

Again, Internet, I turn to you: are fill-in-the-blank thank you notes the wave of the future? How about party favors as thank yous (for the gift as well as for your presence at the party)? Shouldn't kids be writing REAL thank you notes for presents? Or am I just an old fogey who needs to get with the program already?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.