Something very important to me as a parent is teaching my kids manners. There's no such thing as "too polite" in my book. Things like "please" and "thank you" are the foundation. I teach and we practice using phrases like "May I please...." on a daily basis. My husband and I are also working on having the kids sit at the dinner table, even if they are finished eating, until everyone is done and then asking to be excused. These are all simple things to teach my girls manners.
Thank you notes are another instance of showing manners. I want my kids to learn to be gracious for the extras in life. Birthday parties and friends are fun and birthday presents are extras. My kids are still pretty little, but it's not too early to have them help write thank you notes.
My oldest daughter just had her 4th birthday. She had a lovely party with friends and family. She's not quite old enough to write her own thank yous so I came up with this idea. Why not make the creation of the actual thank you card a craft project? She loves doing craft projects and it keeps her engaged in the process, even if she can't write the content.
I dug out a handful of my scrapbooking supplies to make the cards.
We started by using a light fibrous paper to stamp the word "thanks" a bunch of times over and over. Sorry, I didn't get a picture of the stamped page. Then I let her cut out each word.
I cut out paper to the size of 6" x 8" so when it's folded the card is 4" x 6". My daughter glued "thanks" to the front of each card.
Her birthday party theme was My Little Pony, so she stuck a couple MLP stickers to the fronts of each card.
She wanted to make them fancy, so we worked together to put some Prima paper flowers on each card using a brad.
Once the cards were done, I wrote the thank you note based on what she dictated to me. At the end, she wrote her name at the bottom of each card.
This was a very simple craft project to do with only a couple adult assistance steps. You can make it even easier by using index cards and stickers for younger kids. Having my daughter help in the thank you process helps her learn manners and graciousness. Sometimes the journey is just as important as the final product!!