As adults, we know to instantly look at the gift giver in the eye, call them or write them to thank them for their generosity. Children don’t always know or remember to do so. Teaching children gratitude manners is important.
There will be birthdays, graduations, holidays and other special events where our children will be blessed with gifts from friends and family. There are three standard ways for children to show gratitude when they receive a gift in person, by phone and by mail.
When the Gift Giver is Present
If the gift giver is there, an immediate THANK YOU should be exclaimed. Encourage the child to look at the giver. Bonus if he/she includes why they are happy to have received the gift. For example, “Thank you Aunt Sally! I can’t wait to use the crayons on my next art project!”
When the Gift Giver is Not There
If the gift giver isn’t there, a phone call or thank you card should be sent.
- A phone call is the preferred option, but not always possible. If a thank you call is made, show the child how to properly address the gift giver and thank them for the gift.
- A tradition that I’ve seen disappear a bit these last few years is the writing of a Thank You Card. Depending on the age of the child, he/she should be an active participant in writing out the cards. If you child is not yet able to write, show them how you are writing the thank you cards and explain why you are doing so. The child could draw a picture to add to the card. The older children should write the cards out themselves. This is also a great mini-lesson on letter writing and properly addressing an envelope.
- At last resort, I recommend taking a photo of the gift in the hands of your child and then texting it with a thank you text to the gift giver. Although the photo is great to send, the texting is a bit impersonal and isn’t necessarily a skill we want to teach our kids. (I think they’ll have texting down on their own, without out help!)
There are many ways to show appreciation and gratitude. Be sure that you are leading with example. Your child will catch on as they see you routinely offering thanks to those who have given or done something for you.