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Does your child cringe at the idea of writing thank you notes? Here are some ways to make writing the thank you notes more fun for the kids (and more painless for the parents).

-- At birthday parties, take a picture of the birthday child with each guest and the gift that the guest has given (after it has been unwrapped). After the film is developed (which should happen soon after the party -- and this also serves as a good incentive to get the film developed quickly!), have the birthday child jot a quick thank you note on the back of the picture while you look at the photos together. This is also an easy way to remember who gave what gift!

If possible at other gift-giving occasions, the child can cozy up with the grandparents or other relatives, get the snapshot taken, and send out the thank you on the back of the picture.

-- If you have access to a computer, either scan in those special event photos, get the film developed onto a disk or email, or use a digital camera, then allow the child to make stationery that highlights his/her favorite pictures. Group shots work best, rather than individual pictures, so no one gets hurt feelings from being left out. (We always do two group shots, a nice one and a goofy one, and use those for thank you stationery.)

-- For kids who enjoy crafts, make sure some type of craft kit is given as a gift. Sometimes the thank you note can be made directly from the kit (such as an ink stamping kit). Sometimes the craft can actually enhance the thank you. One girl made friendship bracelets with her birthday gift and couldn't wait to send them to her friends, along with a quickly jotted note "Thank you for being my friend!"

-- Take the kids to an office supply store and let them pick out pens and paper. (Promise that they can keep the pens and leftover paper once the thank you notes are written.) After shopping, find a fun place to write the notes, rather than the boring kitchen table. When the notes are finished, head to the post office to buy cool stamps. Make it an outing, rather than a chore.

These are few ideas that have worked with my kids and my friends' children. My kids don't complain about writing thank you notes anymore. Instead, they look forward to it!