Monday, May 18, 2015

Preschoolers and Thank You Notes

My daughter turned four on Wednesday, and was given so many thoughtful gifts. By my aunts and uncles, by a sweet woman I work with, by grandparents, by friends, by our neighbor.

Her party was Saturday, and, as is the Westside way, we made her wait to open her presents until after the party, when we were at home. (This was not the way things were done when I was a kid. After cake, the birthday girl or boy got to open presents and thank each guest face to face.) There are lots of reasons for waiting until after the party with preschoolers. But there is one I overlooked...

This afternoon, I started the process of writing thank you notes. Not me writing the notes. It would be fairly easy for me to email thank yous to everyone who celebrated my daughter in this way. But I want my daughter to be the primary thank you note writer, which is a lot to ask of a four year old who hasn't yet been formally instructed in writing.

But the thank yous are important. I want my daughter to be in the habit of showing gratitude, of counting her blessings.

And here's where I think I screwed up. If I had to do this week over again, I wouldn't let her open all of her presents in one afternoon. I would have her open one present and write a thank you note to the friend who gave it to her, before opening the next gift.

Tonight, my daughter wrote two thank you notes (THANK YOU FOR picture of present LOVE, her name) before whining that she wanted to go to sleep. It was 7:00 pm. (My daughter is a night owl and usually stays up until 10:00 pm. That's one of the drawbacks of co-sleeping. There are lots of pluses, but that's a different post. Her sleep schedule, is all thrown off right now because of the exciting weekend, and a too long nap yesterday.)

I photographed the two notes and emailed the photos. I want people to be thanked sooner rather than later.

How do you do thank you notes with your preschooler?


  1. I would always tell my kids that it makes for a much more interesting note if they express themselves in some way. I never had my kids do the actual writing because that is tedious but instead they would dictate to me and I would do the writing. If they just said, "Thank you for __________," I would ask them to tell me what they liked about it. We would write that down and I would also encourage your daughter to express appreciation that friends/family came to the party, etc. (took time out of their day because they love her so much and are happy for her birthday, etc.)

    Hope this helps.

    1. I love those ideas. :) Thank you Elisabeth!