Q. If a child made Mom breakfast in bed or a homemade gift for Mother's Day, or purchased something from a store, does proper etiquette dictate that Mom should then write the child a thank-you note?
A. "I think that would be fantastic, because you're setting a good example," says Debbie Gorney, owner of Peas and Thank You, which offers culinary and etiquette classes for children in Northport.
She suggests taking a card and writing something simple to the child -- something like, "Thank you for being the best daughter ever," or "I really appreciate what you did for me. It made me see what a good kid I have."
The child will learn how good it feels to be acknowledged for giving. "It puts a smile on your face when you get a thank-you note," Gorney says. She suggests slipping it under the child's pillow, for instance, so he or she will discover it at bedtime. Kids may remember that good feeling when it's time for them to write a thank-you note to someone else, and therefore understand better why it's so important. "It's a lost art," Gorney says of sending formal thanks.
Aside from setting a good example, parents never know what gesture they make that might touch the child and stick with the child for years, Gorney says. "It's the little things you don't think they're getting, but they do." He or she may one day say, "I remember when you sent me that thank-you note."