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10 Common Reasons Kids Should Say Thank You

February 16, 2012

Saying thank you is second nature to most people and we tend to take this simple expression of gratitude for granted. However, because it’s so common, a thank you left unsaid becomes a glaring omission. Parents who don’t teach their children to say thank you are doing a great disservice to their children. People think kids who don’t say thanks are just plain rude. Here are 10 common reasons you should teach your kids to say thank you.

  1. Manners – First of all, it’s just good manners to say thank you. Kids need to learn socially acceptable behavior early and have it reinforced throughout their childhood. Thank you should be two of the first words a child learns to say, after please of course.
  2. Respect – Saying thank you shows respect, especially to adults. Parents should teach their children that not showing gratitude is disrespectful and frowned upon by others.
  3. Show gratitude – Of course, a simple thanks shows gratitude and lets the giver know the gift is appreciated. Even the smallest gesture should be acknowledged when it’s given freely.
  4. Polite – Kids should learn how to be polite to others and saying thank you is part of that process. First you say please, then thank you, follow up with a your welcome and repeat often.
  5. Appreciated – People really appreciate it when kids say thank you and they notice when it’s omitted. When children are unable to express their appreciation for a gift in person, they should be encouraged to send thank you notes.
  6. Etiquette – Saying thank you is just part of proper etiquette that all parents should teach their children. They need to know what’s expected of them to get along in polite society and improper etiquette won’t get them very far.
  7. Good example – Kids who can give an unprompted thank you when it’s required are a good example to their peers and siblings. Politeness is contagious and should be generously shared as often as possible.
  8. Reflects well – When people observe children saying a polite thank you, it reflects well on their parents. On the other hand, when that simple gesture is omitted, it really reflects poorly. Most adults will wonder who’s raising this rude child.
  9. Shows maturity – Polite children appear much more mature than their rude peers and their more likely to gain respect from adults. Kids should be encouraged to say thank you by letting them know it’s the grown up thing to do.
  10. Good habits – Saying please and thank you are just good habits for kids to get into and it should become second nature to them. Repeated often enough, eventually they won’t need to be reminded.

When teaching your children to say please and thank you, be sure to lead by example. Kids learn best by imitation, so make a point of saying thank you to them as well. Since the words thank you can be difficult for toddlers who are just learning to talk, learning it in sign language first can be easier for them. It may become tedious to continually remind kids to say thank you, but eventually it will become second nature to them and they won’t need to be reminded. Giving your children a strong foundation in good manners will serve them well throughout their lives.

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7 Responses to 10 Common Reasons Kids Should Say Thank You

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Bill Corbett says:

I like this article’s suggestion that parents should teach first by example, but I disagree that parents should constantly remind their children to say it. Forcing or harping on a child to say thank you could teach them NOT to say it. It’s always tricky when it comes to teaching your children social skills, but the more that the caregiver remains calm around this teaching, the more likely the child will want to participate in it more. Here’s my ABC interview on teaching children gratitude: http://youtu.be/WhwpNKsjlNQ

admin says:

You bring up an interesting point – I think there’s a balance to be found when encouraging your kids to say thank you. You’re right about not wanting to teach them not to say it. Thanks for the link to your interview!

Francine says:

I have trouble with my step son showing gratitude. He was taught manners by his mom and dad. I bought him his first truck and give him money. He doesn’t know how to say thank you at the age of 18. I am done giving him anything and he will most likely be cut out of my will.

admin says:

That sounds like a tough situation, we hope it all works out and that your step son shows appreciation for your kindness.

elena says:

on the same subject – i think thank you cards acknowledging gifts is something that is far underutilized these days. my mom taught me growing up to always send a thank you card to show gratitude to the purchaser. it takes 2 minutes of time to write out a thank you card and it makes all the difference – it’s a a shame more kids don’t take the time to do this.

Danielle L. says:

What a great suggestion about the sign language! I’m going to have to try that out with my babies!

Ken says:

It really does make a difference in people’s perception of the parents when your children are well-mannered and when they aren’t. Good manners go a long way.