10 thank-you note alternatives when your child struggles with writing

If your child has trouble with writing, sending traditional thank-you cards may feel like a chore. Try these alternatives to written notes.

1. Snap a photo.

Did Grandma knit your child a sweater? Have your child take a selfie wearing the sweater and a big smile. Did Aunt Lucy send modeling clay? Help your child roll out the letters of the words “Thank you” and snap a pic. You can print the photo or send it digitally. Seeing your child happily using or wearing a gift is the best thanks most gift-givers could get.

2. Take a video.

If an aunt sent a scooter, have your child shout “thanks!” while whizzing by. Text, email, or post the video so the gift-giver can appreciate your child’s gratitude in action.

3. Say it with music.

Use a smartphone microphone to capture your child playing a tune on an instrument or singing a thank-you song. (That could be as simple as repeating “thank you” to the tune of “Happy Birthday.”) Or you could pick up a recordable greeting card. Then record your child singing thanks.

4. Type the message.

Some kids who have trouble writing are more comfortable using a keyboard. Have your child type up a heartfelt email or funny e-card to send to a gift-giver. For a small fee, some online services like Postable.com or Postagram.com will even let you upload your child’s typed greetings and then send the recipient a printed card, with or without photos.

5. Craft some “thanks.”

Let your child draw, paint, ink-stamp, or use stickers to create the word thanks. Or you can write “thank you!” in big, thick white crayon letters on white paper for your child. Then have your child paint over it with watercolors.

6. Deliver something delicious.

Younger kids can help you bake thank-you cookies, brownies, or other treats for local gift-givers. Older kids can take charge of choosing the recipe, helping with shopping, and doing the baking. They can help you deliver the treats, too.

7. Send a homemade bouquet.

Help your child create fake flowers out of pipe cleaners or snip some posies out of colorful paper. If the gift-giver is nearby, you could even make a bouquet of balloons. Whether you mail or hand-deliver the “flowers,” the recipient will know the sentiment is sincere.

8. Fill in the blanks.

Use pre-printed thank-you cards that leave spaces to write in things like what the present was and your child’s name. If a gift-giver knows about your child’s writing trouble, they’ll be impressed by the effort. Some fill-in-the-blank thank-you notes are available online for download.

9. Make a collage.

Let your child cut out pictures and letters from magazines and combine them to show gratitude (and artistic strengths). Assemble the letters of the word thanks plus images of smiling people. Or the collage could be a collection of images your child picks with the recipient in mind. Let your child take the lead, and mail the collage when it’s complete.

10. Dictate the message.

Write down what your child says about why the gift is so great. The handwriting (or typing) may be yours, but make it clear who’s expressing the thanks. “Nana, thank you for my knight costume. My teacher read us a book about the Middle Ages and I got so excited. When you come in the spring, maybe we can play dress-up!”


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