Friday, January 2, 2009

Donut You Think Thanksgiving Should Come After Christmas?

The Book ChookThe festive season is over for another twelve months. Gifts have been gifted, ornaments packed away, and zillions of toy batteries replaced.

Have your children written thank you notes for their gifts? It's so important to incorporate opportunities for writing into our everyday lives. Writing real letters or cards is a lovely way to show someone you truly appreciate something they've done for you. Sometimes though, kids need a little prompting to get started.

With children still at the pre-writing stage, I suggest you ask them to draw themselves interacting with the gift (a little tricky if the gift was a pair of socks, so you may have to improvise.) If you write the person's name for them, they can copy it onto the picture and add their own name to the bottom.

Beginning writers could draw the same picture, and try to add a short thank you message of their own. Don't worry about spelling and legibility - that's part of the charm of this kind of letter. If absolutely necessary, you can ask your child to tell you what to write underneath, " so Grandma can read it more easily." This way, the message you give them is not about correctness, but about having a go.

Older children might need ideas of how and what to write. They could try personalizing someone else's thank you letter, using a template, or simply describing what they liked about the gift. Kids who are already competent writers might like to explore conventions for letter writing, create some funny thank you messages like the one above, or drive Grandpa crazy by putting their message into code(!).

Most kids enjoy creating. Encourage them to embellish or decorate their letter or card. They could use the computer to print out one of the templates above, find an attractive design in a desktop publishing program like Publisher, or go crazy with scrapbooking techniques. Presentation can be one of the many joys of writing, and google will bring many more options.

Giving thanks is not only good manners, it's a great and fun way of developing writing skills. Donut you think so?

(Photo credit http://www.flickr.com/photos/emilywaltonjones/1350387435/)

6 comments:

  1. Wonderful post. I am so horrible at sending thank-you notes, but that dosen't mean I need to teach my children the same behavior. I love the idea of children drawing a picture of themselves interacting with the gift.

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  2. I'm very much in the email habit, but almost everyone admits to missing the real physical cards and letters we used to write. Creative kids especially enjoy expressing themselves in this way.

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  3. It's so good for children to remember to give thanks and this is an excellent opportunity to teach them...I 'm realy one to talk though; can't say I've really done this with my own 7 year-old. We usually call up the person and give thanks that way. We definitely need to get back to basics;-)

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  4. Ms. Lucy, I think you're right. Getting back to basics makes good sense in an economic down-turn AND it can be such good fun.

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  5. Wow, Book Chook (BC), can a post get any better than this? I can't agree more with the importance of acknowledging presents and thoughtful gestures, and it's like all good etiquette, if you begin early and encourage them at a young age, it will be that much easier further down the line. Setting precedents, that's what having well-mannered children is all about.

    AND, it's so important to teach children not to take the little things in life, like kind gestures, for granted. When you really get down to it, when you can appreciate the little things in life, happiness is that much more attainable.

    Thanks for your poignant words, they really spoke to me, as always.

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  6. And thanks for your thoughtful feedback, phredude!

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