Writing a Thank-You Note
I'm imagining that a piece of paper that someone's held onto for 50 years might be important. What do you think?
Most notes that children write to their grandparents are thank-you notes for gifts or other kindnesses. Thank-you notes of a few words at age three can lead to letters, perhaps several pages long, by the time a grandchild is nine or ten years old.
With young children who are not yet writing, I like to ask the child to draw a picture and then incorporate the drawing into a card.
To start thank-you note writing with young children I usually give them a 4 1/4 by 2 3/4 inch piece of paper, which is one fourth of an 8 1/2 by 11 inch piece of paper. I invite them to draw a picture to thank the designated person.
After the child is finished I ask him or her to dictate a thank-you note to me. I prompt them by asking a couple of questions: What is your favorite thing about your gift? What is your favorite thing you like about this person?
From these questions a note evolves, perhaps like this:
Dear Aunt Betty,
My new red wagon holds all my dolls, and I like to pull the wagon around the block. I'm glad you're my daddy's sister. Thank you for the wagon.
Write the note on the inside of an 8 1/2 by 11 inch sheet of paper that has been folded into quarters and is now card sized. Glue the child's artwork to the front. Be sure to date the note for posterity!
(Envelopes for this size card are 4 3/8 by 5 3/4 inches and are available at most discount or office supply stores.)
As a child begins to be able to copy handwriting, around age five to six years, I'll ask the child to dictate a note, then show the child how to copy the note in his or her own handwriting, affixing the drawing afterwards.
Somewhere around nine years of age, a child should be able to independently write a thank-you note, free of spelling errors, punctuation or grammatical errors, as well as be the card designer.
Cards can be made with drawings using markers (washable!), colored pencils, crayons, glued small bits of paper to create mosaics, leaf rubbings or potato prints, to name only a few artistic methods.
Making and writing thank-you notes help our children develop an attitude of gratitude for the life our children have. Expressing gratitude for the people and other blessings in their lives helps our children be happier and healthier people.
Take a few minutes to help your child learn to express thankfulness in a unique and creative manner. These handmade notes may turn into family treasures.
Next week: Rethinking Homework
Kids Talk™ is a column dealing with early childhood development issues written by Maren Stark Schmidt. Mrs. Schmidt founded a Montessori school and holds a Masters of Education from Loyola College in Maryland.
She has over 25 years experience working with young children and holds teaching credentials from the Association Montessori Internationale. She is also Creative Director for a video-based reading series for children ages three to six, The Shining Light Reading Series. Contact her via e-mail at email@example.com.
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Visit www.shininglightreading.com for more information.
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