Birthdays are important moments in all of our lives, especially in those of our children. They are by far the most anticipated moments of the year when our kids feel celebrated, showered with love and wrapped in the ribbons of our hearts. Those polka dot moments, gone too quickly are the ones we remember forever. Teaching our children to embrace and appreciate the gifts they receive is essential too. Research has shown that when kids feel grateful for what they have they feel happier, are more successful and have higher grade point averages. Help your children embrace the magic of gratitude and pass on their appreciation for the blessings they’ve received by encouraging them to write their thank-you notes themselves or including them in the process. Here are some easy tips to get you started:
1. Buy your thank you notes ahead of time. Buy or order your thank-you notes at the same time you purchase your invitations. If you want to use a photo card thank-you note, let your child pick out their favorite so it’s easy when you upload the party image.
2. Always use an ink pen! Tradition dictates to always use black or blue ink pens to write your thank you notes - never ballpoint. For children, the single most important thing is to encourage them to write a note of appreciation and express their gratitude. If they are young and want to draw a picture, use crayons or the Color Me In Cards from www.tinyprint.com – that’s even better because they are personal, one of a kind treasures from your child’s heart and imagination.
3. Make a List of Presents Received. As your child opens their gifts, do make sure to write down who the gift is from, or write down what the gift was, on the back of the birthday card before the gift disappears! It will make your life easier when your child writes their thank-you note so you can hand them the birthday cards one at a time to help them visually get it done and they can see how many more people they need to thank.
4. Include a Picture. It’s true - pictures speak a thousand words and are always our most coveted possessions. Do include one from the party in your thank-you note that captures the split second that becomes a cherished memory.
5. Sample Thank-you Notes. Finding the right words can feel overwhelming. Remember it’s a note, not a letter. Here are a few sample notes from my new book, 101 Ways to Say Thank You for Kids & Teens: All-Occasion Thank-You Note Templates, Social Media Etiquette & Gratitude Guide, to get you started:
- Thank You for the Birthday Gift
Having you at my birthday was a gift in itself! Thank you for the (name of gift). It is perfect, and I love it! I so appreciate your thoughtfulness and generosity.
You totally rock! I adore my present – thank you. You really made my birthday a day I will never forget. Thank you a million times!
- Thank You for the Gift Card
Thank you for the gift card to (name of store/website). It’s perfect! It was exactly what I wanted, and I can’t wait to go shopping. Thank you for the best birthday present ever.
All my love,
6. The Envelope. The envelope is just as important as your thank-you note as it’s the first thing the recipient of your note sees when the mail arrives. Include your preprinted return address on your envelopes or use your custom stamper and allow the birthday boy or girl to stamp them. Consider including an envelope liner too. It gives you another opportunity to include another party image too! Make sure the address is correct and printed legibly on the front and center of the envelope in three lines like this:
- Name of Recipient: Miss Jane Browne
- Street Address: 1234 Easy Street
- City, State, Zip Code: Anytown, CA 90210
7. Postage Stamps. Always have a sheet of postage stamps on hand so it’s one less thing you have to worry about or order them online and personalize them with a cute picture from the party.
Remember, in the digital age we live in, nothing is more treasured and shows your appreciation than a hand-written thank you note sent via snail mail with a stamp. It shows you took a moment to thank someone for the kindness and love they sent your way. We can change the world, one thank you at a time.
For more tips and ideas to express your gratitude, pick up a copy of Kelly Browne’s newest book, 101 Ways to Say Thank You: for Kids & Teens – All-Occasion Thank-You Note Templates, Social Media Etiquette & Gratitude Guide (Cedar Fort; July 2015) from her best selling book-series, 101 Ways to Say Thank You (Sterling; April 2015).