Hand-written thank you notes. Do my kids still need to send them?

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This summer I’ve been doing a lot of traveling. I’ve traveled with my kids, their friends, and their cousins for a total of 65 hours’ worth of driving over a 5 week span.

Despite the incidents of the friend who had night terrors and would wake us up screaming in the middle of the night, the cousin who spilled cranberry juice on our white carpeting, and the friend who ran through the porch screen at the cabin, I was delighted at how some of these kids showed their gratitude to me for all of the driving and everything I did for them.

Maybe it is because I’m the “etiquette lady”, but I received the nicest hand-written thank you note from one of my son’s friends whom I had taken with us to Florida. He took the time to draw a great picture on the outside of the card, and then on the inside, went into detail about what he enjoyed on our trip. Needless to say, I was very impressed by his manners and that his mom would encourage him to write the note.

In my opinion, not only is it a good idea for kids to show their gratitude by sending a thank you note the old-fashioned way instead of a quick email or text, but because so few kids actually do, it makes them (and you) stand out and really make a great impression on the receiver.

Tips for Sending Thank You Notes:

1.  Kids should send a thank you note for any gift they receive. It is especially important to write one immediately if the gift was sent by mail to let the person know it was received and appreciated.

2.  Format and style matter.  This is a great time to teach your kids how to address an envelope and properly write a letter. Encourage them to write neatly and to ask you if they don’t know how to spell something. If your child is under the age of 6 and cannot write the whole note herself, you can buy the thank you cards where the child just needs to fill in the blanks. Below is an example of a nice thank you note that would be appropriate from an eight year old.

Dear Grandma,

I am so glad that you were able to come to my birthday party. It was really great playing games with you and swimming in the pool.

Thank you so much for the new Star Wars Lego set! I have already started to build it and am having so much fun. I’ll send you a picture of it when it’s all put together.

I love you,


3. Have cards and stamps ready! I have bought each of my children their own stationary (cheap at Target) and a book of stamps. So, when they need to write a thank you note there are no excuses like, “What do I use?”

I post a new blog every Wedesnday so please check back. Thank you!

For more information on the new and modern cotillion class called “Impressions”, tips, and videos on manners please go to finesseworldwide.com/impressions. Have an etiquette question? Please email me at aimee@finesseworldwide.com and I’ll be happy to answer your question or even feature it in my next blog.

Aimee Symington is a modern cotillion instructor, etiquette expert, and creator of “Blunders” board game on manners. She has appeared on The Today Show and is a monthly etiquette guest on Charlotte Today and is the CEO of Finesse Worldwide, Inc. with offices in Charlotte and San Francisco.