Questions and Answers: Thank-You Note Etiquette for Parents
The importance of writing a thank-you note cannot be overemphasized. As parents, you have a great responsibility for getting your child in the habit of writing thank-you notes. Yet, very few children will actually want to write a thank-you note. It is an innate response that after a child receives a fun birthday gift, he or she would much rather play with it instead of sitting at the table and trying to come up with something to write down.
But it is so important!!!
Writing thank-you notes shows that your child has good manners. It also displays that they are respectful of the other person and grateful, which are great quality characteristics in a human being. Learning proper thank-you note writing techniques will serve your child very well in their future. Personally, I am so happy that my mother took the time to make me write thank-you notes (which was quite the struggle). It has served me very well as I have had many events where I found it necessary to write a thank-you note.
When should I write a thank-you note?
Here are some appropriate times to write a thank-you note:
- After receiving a gift (birthday, shower, wedding, graduation, etc.)
- After someone hosts a dinner party you went to
- After interviews
- When someone attends your event (wedding, birthday, etc.)
- After someone takes time to help you
I want to send a handwritten note, but I don’t have any stamps!
Although Emily Post might recommend writing a handwritten note (as they are warmer and classic), this isn’t always appropriate. For example, if someone sends you an e-gift it might be easier and much more efficient to match his or her medium by sending a thank-you e-mail. Many parents might think, I don’t have any stamps or stationary! Don’t let this be an obstacle on the road to good manners. If you can’t pick up stamps and envelopes, then go the electronic route.
What should a thank-you note say?
The basic outline for a thank-you note is simple:
- Greeting (“Dear Aunt Anne,”)
- ‘Thank you’ followed by what exactly you are thanking them for (“Thank you for the bicycle.”)
- Then tell the person specifically how you will use their gift or why you were so grateful for their service. (“I am so excited to ride my new bicycle to the park this Saturday!”)
- Salutation (“Lots of love, Gina”)
The Internet has a lot of great resources for examples of what to say in a thank-you note. However, be sure to personalize the thank-you note and recognize the effort they made on your behalf. It might be a struggle to get your children to write the thank-you note, but in the end it will be worth it.
When it comes down to it, etiquette is all about making other people feel loved and respected. Writing a thank-you note tells the other person that you appreciate the time they took out of their day for you. The medium (handwritten or electronic) of communication might change, but the meaning behind a thank-you note is a classic representation of good manners.