Be Honest: Your Kid Did Not Write That Thank You Note

My daughter is at that age when almost every weekend it seems we have a birthday party to go to.  As such, I try to keep a supply of reasonably priced yet appropriate gifts stocked in our pantry. Usually my daughter brings her buddy a new book or we give a new box of markers with a sketchpad. If I really know the child, I might try to add a personal touch, but as my daughter is now in first grade, most parties are crazy sh*t shows that entail inviting the whole class, usually involve a bouncy house and offer lots of sugar and pizza. They are manic blurs of fun.

This is why I know as well as anyone that a 6-year-old kid is not going to remember the one present that my daughter helped get her I picked out at the last minute out of the 25 odd gifts she will receive at her birthday party.


Then why are some parents I know crafting bespoke thank-you notes and then pretending that their kid wrote it personally to my little girl?

I’m a busy mom too. I’m in on this ruse. It’s annoying. It has to stop.

Just last week, my daughter attended a gathering for a girl in her class. I don’t know the child or her parents very well, but it was sweet of them to include my girl. I had stashed some art supplies for this very occasion and pulled out a new smock, a set of paints, and a package of construction paper. My daughter helped me wrap the items and she wrote her friend’s name on a card and signed it. But that was the end of our fanfare.

The party came and went and then a few days later, an e-mail arrived from the kid herself. My best guess is that it was the mom or dad writing as the girl from an e-mail account the parents had set up for her in her name. (Side note: Is this a thing now? Because I didn’t get the memo.)

The e-mail read something like this: “I can’t begin to thank you enough for coming to my 6th birthday party. You looked wonderful in your party dress. The art supplies were a lovely touch. I do love to paint and I’ve only ever gotten to wear a smock at school so it’s nice to now have one at home too. Since I’m always running out of art supplies it’s great to have back-ups. Thank you for being a part of my special day.” – Signed, The Kid Who Didn’t Actually Write This Note Or Create Her Own E-mail Account

Please, parents, please. Stop writing thank you cards as if you are your own child. If you want your child to understand being grateful and thankful for a gift, sit her down, talk about how you write a thank you note and why it’s important. Heck, take out an actual piece of paper, an envelope, and get a stamp. Ask your child to write her buddy’s name and sign the card. Or if you want to save trees, just make sure to mention the gift and say thank-you the next time they see each other in school.

While I’m sure the parents of this little girl didn’t have any ill intent when they wrote the e-mail, it came across to me as odd and slightly annoying and pretentious. Like, were these parents trying to one-up all of us other busy parents who don’t have time to do this?

I think you should include your child in the thank-you process. Or, just be honest. Please be honest. Type an e-mail to all the parents whose kids attended the party. Tell them you appreciate that they helped get their kids to the party and that your child loved his/her gifts.

We live in such a hectic time and most of us can barely remember to pack our kid’s lunch let alone cater a personal thank you card. Instead of stressing and trying to prove that your kid is grateful, just be yourself.

Have you ever written a thank you card on behalf of your child? Why or why not?