Say, “Thank you.” Those two important words are so embedded in us as children that we continue to pass the gesture of politesse to the next generation as part of the social drill.
My mom was no exception. At a young age, she taught me to get in step every year when my great-aunt Miriam sent me a birthday card with crisp $1 bills inside, equaling to my years. Since she lived miles away, I couldn’t just “say” thank you. Instead, Mom shared her stationery and showed me how to write, address and stamp a handwritten note to my great-aunt.
Sure, it’s easier nowadays to give thanks with an email or a text, but the handwritten word does so much more. Expressing gratitude with pen on paper says something about how the thankful person went out of his or her way to do something extra special. That’s why Wendy Brown, former video producer and mom of three, is passionate about handwritten thank-you notes. She started her inspiring blog and unique, online paper goods boutique dedicated to the art of handwriting (www.brownink.com).
At the age of five, her mom gave her personalized stationary, and she was hooked. To this day, her prized possessions are shoeboxes filled with letters to and from family, notes to friends and travel journals. “There has never been a more important time to slow down and relish the power in handwriting and the excitement of receiving a note, especially one that says, ‘Thanks,’” she says.
Here are two ideas for doing just that with young kids, as they reflect and write personalized thank-you notes of appreciation to summer camp counselors, coaches, relatives and friends.
— Preschoolers: Set out a piece of paper, fold it in half and let your preschooler stamp or attach stickers of images on the front side of the paper that are symbolic of things they enjoyed doing with the recipients, such as eating ice cream cones, going to the beach or catching fish off a dock. Prompt your child to dictate a thank-you message that you write inside.
— School-age kids: Young school-age kids will have fun choosing and printing out their favorite summer photos from your computer and gluing the small prints on paper. Encourage them to write words around each photo, describing the activities they did together with the person they are thanking. Show them how to sign, address and stamp the envelope.
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© 2022 Donna Erickson
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