Teach your child that conveying appreciation is more special when it is done by way of a thank-you note or a telephone call.
The next time a relative or friend gives your child a wonderful present or takes her out and shows her a great time, make sure your child thanks him not just immediately, but takes the time out to make a quick thank-you telephone call the next day. This simple gesture makes a world of difference to the way your child comes across. If your child has received a beautiful top as a gift from a relative, your child should ideally open the gift in front of the person, so she can appreciate it there and then and thank the gift-giver. Then, the next day, your child can make another phone call just to say that she tried on the top and that it fits really well, looks very nice etc.
If you have returned from a holiday and stayed as guests at someone's house, needless to say, you and all your family members would have thanked the hosts profusely before heading back home. But on reaching home, not only should you make it a point to shoot off a thank-you email, but a thank-you email or card from your child will come across as very thoughtful.
Encourage your child to make her own thank-you cards rather than buy one from the store. This is more personalized, and comes across as a warmer and more heartfelt gesture. And if your child is creatively inclined, you can be sure she will love making little thank-you cards and notes. Doing this will also instill a sense of responsibility in her.
When should your child start sending thank-you notes?
As soon as your child is old enough to write a little, and old enough to appreciate a gift that she has received, she should start showing her appreciation by making and sending thank-you cards.
What should she include in the card?
Your child should mention the gift that she has received, and can add another line stating what she likes about it. Perhaps she really liked the colour, or perhaps the present was something she needed.
A note stating "Red is my favourite colour, so I truly love the red skirt you have given me and cannot wait to wear it! Thank you so much!" sounds far better and more personal than a note saying "Thank you for your lovely present."
What does your child do if she doesn't like the present she has received?
Remind your child to bear in mind that the person has put time, money and effort into buying the present, and for that, she needs to be appreciated. Perhaps she bought what she thought was nice. This is also a time where your child can learn to be tactful. Your child need not falsely praise the gift, but can just mention it in the card. Saying, "Thank you for the sweater, I really needed some additions to my winter wardrobe!" is a nice way of putting it.
Sending thank-you notes or following up a kind, generous gesture with a thank-you telephone call places your child in another category completely - a category of children with exceptional good manners and classy upbringing.