Make Sure You're Not Raising a Brat
Take our quiz
Your 7-year-old received many gifts at her birthday party, but now she refuses to write thank-you notes, saying it's too hard. You:
A. Agree. It's too much to ask of a kid, and no one will notice that you never sent them.
B. Admit that it's hard but tell her why it's important, and then find the time to do them together.
C. Write them yourself.
This lesson can begin before your child knows her ABC's. A 2-year-old can put a sticker on a card to personalize it; a preschooler can draw a picture and maybe even sign her name. By starting this at an early age, you train your child that writing (or drawing) thank-you notes is as much a part of the party as making the cake and sending out invitations. By the time they're around 12, kids can do this without you by their side (so that you're responsible only for nudging).
As with anything, kids ultimately pattern their behavior on their parents. Try to follow through on your own thank-yous, even a quick e-mail, and do it in easy view of your child.