Like most parents, once the Christmas rush is over and I have hoovered the last pine needle from the carpet, the last remaining festive task is to organise the kids to write their thank-you letters. I heard someone on the radio recently saying that if children write regularly every year, by the time they are 17 it will have become a habit and you can send them off into the adult world, your etiquette coaching complete.
Not in this house. My 16 year old daughter has evolved in a world of social media and emojis and finds expressing thanks through the written word totally alien. Ellen, who is now 19 (19!) struggles with not only formulating the proper sentances but also with the motor skills required to write on a large scale.
So, this year I tried something different. I typed up several versions of ‘thank you’ sentences, some complete, some with the endings missing and some with nothing at all except ‘To’ or ‘Dear’. I laid these out on the table with a selection of cards, different coloured pens, glue and a pair of scissors.
Planning this as an RDI activity, with the focus being on Easy vs Challenging vs Overwhelmed, I tried to provide a range of options which would give Ellen the chance to experience all three.
Whether because of the planning or still being on a high after the Christmas and Birthday season, Ellen was in a super mood and took to this activity with gusto. It was interesting to see that initially she chose the cut-outs with the most complete sentances with the trickiest part being inserting the card into the envelope. By the end of the session however, she was doing more and more writing, and even wrote the last card without any cut-out at all – impressive. But Ellen being Ellen, her sense of humour began to take over and cards were being personalised in a rather unique way…notice anything unusual about the one below…?Yes… Ellen thought it was hilarious to take on various heffalump and woozle personas to sign off the cards – a different one every time. Luckily all the receipients are well aware of Ellen’s penchant for disguise and I’m sure will take this all in their stride.
Happy New Year to one and all!