You might consider the tradition of writing thank you notes is best left in the past, especially if your parents forced you to sit down and pen them. Memories of irritation about not being able to play outside, while you emphasized your gratitude on paper, may leave you cold. Nonetheless, how else are kids going to learn about appreciation and politeness? Here are the pros and cons of thank you letters so you can weigh up their importance.
Studies show gratitude makes people joyful, and you want your kids to be happy. They focus on gratefulness when they write thank you notes and experience appreciation. Repeating gratitude later will come easily if they are familiar with making the most of opportunities to be thankful. Plus, people are happy to receive thank you notes and giving them spreads joy.
Kids think about the givers of the gifts they receive when they write thank you notes. They recognize the kindness behind giving and their empathy grows. The ability to empathize is vital if they are to forge healthy relationships and communicate well.
Kids don’t always recognize the importance of forging bonds with family members outside their home-based family unit. Later in life, they may lose contact with aunts, uncles, and other people because they drift apart. Writing thank you notes can help them create close relationships that last.
If you’ve ever been forced to write thank you notes, you know the result is resentment. Also, do you want your kids to emphasize inauthentic gratitude sometimes for the sake of being polite? What if they dislike a gift? Saying thank you for the thought when a parcel’s handed to you is different to pretending you love a present in a letter. Doing so might lead to similar unwanted gifts the following year too.
There might be better ways to say thanks
You might think thank you letters are old fashioned and best replaced by other ways of expressing gratitude. After all, what’s wrong with saying thanks face-to-face or over the phone? The sound of your kid’s voice, or his/her presence, could mean more to gift-givers than a note.
There are a few more advantages of writing thank you notes. The act of practicing handwriting, for instance, might be valuable. Also, saying thanks is polite. However, most pros can be accomplished as long as kids express thanks in one format or another. What do you think?