Monday, December 26, 2011


Getting kids to write thank you notes isn’t always easy. They procrastinate, make excuses and ultimately parents end up having to force their little darlings to do the right thing. Well, guess what? It’s easier than that. The trick is to tap into your child’s personality and or talents. Here are 20 ideas that will have your child not only willing to send out thank you’s but, wanting to as well.

Create a Video. (the entire show need only be 5 minutes or less. Get Mom, Dad or a sibling behind the camera then e-mail or post to Aunt Annies' facebook page).
1. Kids can dress up, use props and act out a thank you skit.
2. Kids can sing a thank you song (little ones can use the Happy Birthday tune),
3. Play an instrument (doesn’t have to be well it just has to say “thank you“ somehow).
4. Perform a puppet show using stuffed animals, dolls, toy, props.
5. Perform a “thank you” dance

Capture the sentiment in pictures

1. Kids can spell out “thank you” with rocks, sticks, leaves and other backyard treasures.
2. Take photos of your child playing with her new toy then let her make a collage.
3. Let the child get behind the camera and shoot a “thank you” photo.
4. Cut out pictures from old magazines to make a unique card.
5. Create a pretend newspaper article with captioned photo image. “Awesome Grandma gives the perfect gift!”

Put it on paper:

1. Write a poem. It can be “roses are red, violets are blue…”
2. Draw a colorful “thank you” on a puzzle card ($1.50 at craft stores). Disassemble it and send out for the receiver to put back together.
3. Draw a maze leading to the word “Thank you”.
4. Draw, paint or color a picture.
5. Write “thank you” vertically on a lined piece of paper. Then use each letter to say something nice about the gift or person.

Cook something up:

1. Decorate cookies to spell out thank you.
2. Create a thank you “recipe” (one cup of gratitude, dash of surprise etc.)
3. Make brownies or treats, wrap in cellophane tied with a handmade thank you tag.

Use Technology:

1. Skpe a thank you
2. Use fun fonts, paint and draw applications, borders etc. to make a fun computer generated card.

And, of course, if your child is willing, there's always the old fashioned thank you note.
Tell us what your children do to say "thank you."

Sunday, December 4, 2011

You Better Not Pout...

photo from

When your child doesn’t get her way does she cross her arms, squint her eyes, scrunch her face then sink abruptly into a slump?

Ugh! Don’t you just want to say “.. I hope Santa doesn’t find out or you’re gonna be in trouble!“ Say the last part kind of singing and she might just look around nervously and collect herself into a model of cooperation.

Well, I’ve decided I am going to experiment with embracing the pout. After all, we’re Americans. We perfected the pout. In fact, this whole idea came to me the other night watching the news. A group of protesters were sitting in front of a government building bobbing signs telling everyone why they were unhappy.  Passers-by sometimes commented in favor of or against their cause, but as long as they were not breaking any laws, nobody sent the pouters to their rooms or took away their TV time.

That's when it occurred to me to turn the whole "you better not pout" song up-side-down.  I got so excited at the possibilities here that I almost wanted my child to pout.   What if we allowed children to pout or more specifically to air their grievances in writing or drawing in the form of  "pouting posters".  They would take a piece of paper and draw or write how they feel.  Maybe it would be, “I wanted the blue one," or "I don’t like my sister ’cause she won at Go Fish," or even, “mom‘s unfair”. We could even  help them tape the pouting poster to a stick and show them how to bob the sign meaningfully. No Santa threats, no lost privileges, just freedom of expression. It may or may not not change why the pouters are pouting, but they will get a chance to make their feelings known. They might even get so busy creating their signs that they forget all about  pouting.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying pouting should be encouraged. Many kids don’t pout and are thoroughly annoyed when others do it. But, I guess if I had to choose between whining, a tantrum, swinging arms, or a pout I would choose the pout. Besides they’re going to learn sooner or later that pouting is protected under the United States Constitution (kind of?). So, I say, in the spirit of an American tradition, don't suppress the pout, experiment with it as an opportunity for your child to express herself”  Free printable  "pouting posters"  at then go to freebies

Thursday, December 1, 2011

An Interview with Santa Claus reveals that neat handwriting and good manners count!

Interview with Santa Claus
photo courtesy of
 This edited article is from 

Reached by phone at his workshop at the North Pole, St. Nicholas, commonly known as Santa Claus, gave an exclusive interview to the Journal & Courier Wednesday afternoon.

J&C: Good afternoon, Mr. Claus.
SC: Call me Santa. Everyone does.

J&C: You are probably aware of this, but thousands of children are preparing letters to you and our local postal carriers will collect them and make sure you receive them in time for Christmas.

SC: I'm so pleased. Mrs. Claus and I love to receive mail and I read a big stack of letters every night after we have dinner.

J&C: Santa, on behalf of the schoolchildren down here, could you please provide some tips on writing an effective letter to you?
SC: I'd be honored. It's important to ask kids to take their time and use your their best handwriting or printing. My eyesight isn't what it used to be, so make sure your letter is nice and clear.

J&C: Do some kids type their letters on a computer?
SC: Absolutely.

J&C: Does correct spelling matter?
SC: Well, I always like to see older children using proper spelling. It shows me that they are working hard on their weekly spelling words at school. But I know younger children sometimes spell words the best they can. I've read so many letters through the years I can usually figure things out.

J&C: What else is important to remember?
SC: The two magic words: please and thank you. It makes me so happy when I receive polite letters. Did you know that some children even write me thank-you notes after Christmas? Mrs. Claus has a number of them posted on the refrigerator with magnets.

J&C: Do you ever get letters from children who ask for things for other family members, not themselves?
SC: All the time. There are millions of children around the world who are very concerned about the people they love. I always enjoy hearing from them.

J&C: There are lots and lots of good kids down here who have been behaving well at home and at school.
SC: I know! Too many to mention, but, look I've only got time for one more question before I have to get back to toy-making. We're working on Lincoln Logs, Barbies and bikes today.

J&C: Will you be making some guest appearances  before Christmas?
SC: Oh yes! I really enjoy seeing the children so I always try to make time to do that.  Ho, Ho, Ho!

J&C: Thanks for your time, Santa.
SC: Your welcome. Tell the kids to keep those cards and letters coming!

I wonder if Santa will be handing out any Table Manners Cards?