Getting Kids To Write Thank You Letters: Does It Matter?

Thank You Letters: Do They Matter?
9 January 2016

Have your kids written thank you letters for the gifts they got for Christmas yet?

Before you crumple with guilt, let me assure you that my kids are the world's worst when it comes to writing thank you letters. But I blame myself entirely.

Whether you blame it on the fact that I've got three critters to co-ordinate in letter writing activities (organising three children ranging in age from two to ten years to do ANYTHING is basically mission impossible) or just that I'm not quite as organised as I wish I was, we are *those* people who rarely, if ever, manage to send out thank you letters. I still have thank you letters languishing in a drawer which I had printed when my daughter was born two years ago, but which I somehow never quite got round to sending.

I hate myself for it. I know that some friends and family members consider it the height of rudeness that we don't send thank you letters but try as I might, I just cannot seem to nail this aspect of parenting. At least I feel bad about it. Is that any consolation?

And it seems we're not alone in being useless at writing thank you letters. According to research from Postsnap, Brits are bypassing the traditional thank you letter in favour of giving thanks digitally or in person, with 1 in 10 gift-givers not expecting to be thanked at all.

The research of 2,000 UK consumers demonstrates that the way people say thank you is evolving, with social media being blamed for the fact that we are getting ever lazier when it comes to saying thank you for Christmas gifts.

What really makes me squirm is that over half (55%) of those surveyed admit to feeling upset if they don't get thanked for sending a gift to family or friends. Sorry everyone who has ever sent a gift to any of my children. It's not that we're not grateful, I promise.

And yet 21% of those planning to say thanks via social media say they do so as they find it easier, while 98% of those who bypass the traditional thank you letter say they will use Facebook to send their thank you messages. I do that too, when I finally face the fact that thank you letters just aren't happening AGAIN. But I quietly despise myself for being such a flake.

While I absolutely hate the thought of people thinking we're rude or ungrateful on account of our failure to send thank you cards, I also don't believe in beating myself up over this issue. Anyone who chooses to judge me harshly for not being the type of parent who nails the thank you letter thing surely isn't a true friend, and I find it bizarre to contemplate sending thank you notes purely so that gift-givers won't think me rude.

A real friend would appreciate the manic-ness that is my life, and understand that while thank you letters aren't our forte, that doesn't mean that we're not truly, madly, deeply grateful for every gift that ever comes our way. I'm just a thank you letter failure. And for that I am truly sorry.

We'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Are you a stickler for sending thank you letters when your kids receive gifts or are you a thank you letter failure like me? Do you deem it rude if you don't receive a thank you note when you've sent someone a pressie, or do you believe in cutting parents some slack on the basis that managing to clothe and feed everyone in between earning a living is more than enough for many of us to be going on with? Come and tell us what you think over on our Facebook page.

TOPICS:   Parents

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