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 mum 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 email arrived from the kid herself. My best guess is that it was the mum or dad writing as the girl from an email 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 email 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 Email 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 email, 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 email 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?