Teach “thank you.” Ideas to improve kids’ skill.

thank you wordThe simple act of saying “Thank you” can dramatically impact people’s impression of you. It’s an important skill to teach children.

A teenage girl was recently asked to babysit for a family. Her response? “Sure. Those were the only kids at the party who said ‘thank you’ when I handed out treats. They’re really polite.” (And this from a 15-year-old who was too shy to say thank you when she was 5 and really had to work at it!)

Even if children feel gratitude, they don’t automatically know to say thank you.

They need to be taught… and they need to see the same thing modeled by the important adults in their lives.

thank you for giftsIn four minutes or less, you can increase a child’s social skills level. After all, to move grateful feelings into creative expression is a skill… and skills take practice. The holidays are an ideal time to practice, with their added occasions to acknowledge hospitality and gifts.

In 4 minutes or less:

  1. Say thank you in person when you see them the next time. (Program a Reminder for yourself when you know that children are going to see the giver so that you can coach them on what to say.)
  2. Phone call
  3. Take a picture of the child using or wearing the gift and send to the giver’s smartphone with a few words of thanks attached.
  4. Template – Provide samples for a written Thank You but be wary of imposing your standards.
  5. Post card  – Very fast when combined with a template

5-10 minutes:

  1. Video clip and text to the giver
  2. Acrostic of Thanks or Thank You
  3. Craft supplies – One dad said, “My favorite was one for my son’s friends who gave him art supplies, which he used to draw a panda on the thank you card, accompanied by ‘p.s. I drew a panda.’ ”
  4. Written note with template provided – and if you address the envelope, this drops to 4 minutes or less.
  5. Round robin – One card, paper or video in which the whole family adds their part   

10-20 minutes:

  1. Written note
  2. Food  – especially for hospitality (granola, gourmet spices)
  3. Paper chain – each family member writes on a link

Know your individual family members or friends:

  • One mom says, “It’s funny how in some families it’s no big deal but for others not sending a thank you note is the equivalent of saying, ‘We didn’t give a damn about your gift!’”
  • “What are you doing? You sent me a thank you card? We are sisters!” she said in an outraged tone. “Save that for the cousins. If you start sending them to me, I have to send them to you and it all gets out of control.”

Help your child make a good impression by insisting they learn various ways to say Thank You.