Show some appreciation
• From the time our kids could hold a crayon in their hands, they have created thank-you notes. I always have made it seem like fun and they enjoy doing it. They get to say thank you with markers, crayons, chalk or paint and use their own style to send their message of appreciation. Carol of Tinley Park, mom of Rick, 14; Anna, 12; Alex, 9; and Neal, 7
• I remind my children to say thank you by catching their eye and signing "thank you." As far as writing thank yous, they are involved as their ages allow. I buy blank cards and my youngest can paint them or put stickers on the envelopes. My oldest can decorate and dictate while I write. Brenda of Woodridge, mom of Madison, 4, and Ian, 2.
• I have a great idea for saying thank you. Have the kids make a huge posterboard of the words "THANK YOU!" Snap a photograph of the kids next to the sign and make several copies of the print. When a gift is given, throw the picture in a card to say thank you. It makes it more personal! Laura of Chicago, mom of Rebecca, 9, and Justin, 6. • I have two small children who don't write yet, but love to paint, color, draw and stick stickers. I have them create special art instead of writing a traditional thank-you note. I tell them who the gift is from and they make a picture. My oldest is verbal enough to tell me something to write. Alison of Warrenville, mom of Katelyn, 3, and Anthony, 1.
• My daughter writes thank-you notes a day after receiving a gift, regardless of the gift's value or if the gift was opened in front of the giver. Until she was about 6, I would help her write and she would sign the note; now all words and writing are hers. She receives gifts from her grandparents' friends, and they comment how nice it is to still receive a thank-you card. Lorinda of Warrenville, mom of Page, 9.
• Good manners have always been an important value I have tried to teach my children. We have gotten into the habit of making a list of gifts and who gave them. My children will either draw a thank-you picture, copy text I have written out or create their own note accompanied by a drawing. Although occasional reminders are needed, the job gets done without protest. Regina of Chicago, mom of Kayla, 7, and Nava, 5.
Please Tell Us Next month In January, we're thinking about gangs. Do your kids use gang symbols, sing rap songs, wear their pants too low? Play with Flavas dolls? Do you think it's a problem? How are you handling it? Deadline: Dec. 1. In February, we're lookin' for love among siblings. Are your kids rivals? How do you cope with the bickering? Deadline: Jan. 5. If we run your response, we'll enter you in a drawing for a one-year family membership to the Chicago Children's Museum. We'll print your first name, the town in which you live and the names and ages of your kids; please provide us with your full address and phone number for verification purposes only. Send all submissions to: Sandi Pedersen, Chicago Parent, 141 S. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park, IL 60302. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; fax: (708) 524-8360.