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Sarah Jessica Parker: My Kids Are ‘Required’ to Write Thank You Cards

01/20/2014 at 09:00 AM ET

Sarah Jessica Parker Hallmark Courtesy Hallmark Cards

Sarah Jessica Parker is known for her poise and grace both onscreen and off, so it should come as no surprise teaching her kids to be polite is a top priority for this parent.

“My daughters write thank you notes, and they’re just learning to read and be able to spell,” the actress told PEOPLE of her 4-year-old twins Tabitha and Loretta, while attending Thursday’s launch of her namesake collection for Hallmark.

“It takes a significant amount of time just to do one, and they need a lot of adult supervision.”

While the girls “aren’t required to do as much” as their big brother, James Wilkie, 11, Parker adds, “eventually they will be expected to share their appreciation with someone.”

When they’re not learning the importance of please and thank you, the twins are expressing themselves in other ways. “They’re all preternaturally gifted artists — they probably spend 80 percent of their free time drawing,” the proud mom says.

“Every morning before breakfast, we have to drag them away from drawing and painting, even my son. They’re far more gifted than I ever was.”

The Sex and the City star, 48, says her family likes to channel that creativity into homemade cards. With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, friends and family can expect some hand-crafted holiday greetings.

“Since I was a little girl, we were not allowed to buy valentines, and my children do the same thing — a piece of cardboard from tights or pantyhose, they have to cut out their own construction paper, cut out their own doilies. We do it every year.”

So does Parker have a favorite piece of art hanging on the refrigerator? “You can’t pick a favorite when you have three kids!”

– Jeff Nelson

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Showing 41 comments

I'm With The Band on

What a refreshing story. Being polite and gracious never goes out of style. Bad manners and rudeness are almost the norm these days. If only more parents could take a leaf out of SJP’s book, then we’d live in a much more pleasant society. I take my hat off to her.

Carolyn on

I also “required” my son to write thank you notes. Now at 22 he does them on his own. If someone is kind enough to choose a gift or send you money they deserve a proper thank you.

Jeeny on

I was at a wrestling event in December and her son James was there. He was so well behaved and did not pull the typical behavior that some children of celebrities have. It was refreshing to hear from those who worked the event, that James was polite and very appreciative when they brought him to the back to meet some of the guys who were wrestling.

hillaryrenee on

Great job SJP! I wish more parents were like this.

lola on

While raising my 4 daughters thank you notes were a must for gifts received as well as anyone who did something nice or special for them. They were also raised to give a hostess gift when attending a party of one of their small friends. Nothing is more adorable than watching an 8 year old pick out a hostess gift and giving it to the Mom of her friend saying “thank you for inviting me to your home and Mary’s party” The look of surprise that then turns into a huge smile, always made my daughters happy as well. Now that they are grown, they all have a supply of thank you cards and small hostess gifts on hand. It’s wonderful to see. After Christmas I received 6 thank you cards seperatly in the mail. 4 daughters & 2 grand-daughters. The tradition of good manners continues. It never goes out of style.

Robin on

My sons are almost 13 and 18 and they write thank- you notes, and they are polite and courteous, and respectful boys!, my husband and I have always gotten compliments and still do about them!, I am the same way!, your children will have manners and write thank-you notes and be polite, if you do the same.

Guest on

Thank you SJP! All parents should require this of their children. The little ones can draw a picture, write/dictate a few words, and as they grow older transition into a traditional thank you note. I love the misspellings, etc. that go with notes I receive from my young nephews!! :-)

rona on

good for you Jessica. I know so many people who’s children I give gifts to and never get a thank you card. That is very special that you make sure they are raised with class.

Amy on

Why is this news?? Like people are going to see that SJP requires this from her kids and be SO impressed. Or better yet, be inspired to have their kids start doing this because we stupid idiots out here in the normal world don’t know that we should be teaching this to our kids. This is ridiculous and an insult to the intelligence of all of us.

Kim on

Good for her. More parents should teach their children to write thank-you note and be gracious when someone does something for them.

Lorraine on

Awesome. I have always loved SJP – and now she just raised herself even higher in my book. I always wondered why people thought it wasn’t necessary to write Thank You notes these days with emails, fax, text. People are so out of giving a little bit of the personal touch. Thank you SJP – you are an inspiration.

Jamey on

Good, it’s refreshing to read about a parent actually instilling good manners into their children. So many grow up expecting everything for nothing.

BW on

I too make my children write thank you notes. Good to hear I’m not alone in still trying to teach the next generation manners!!

bkable on

My mom was like that and I used to HATE it! But, after attending a wedding around age 17, I never received a thank you card for either my gift or even my attendance. While I know you shouldn’t expect a thank you, I felt a little hurt. Ever since then, I will gladly write thank you notes and will definitely be teaching my kids to do the same!

Chloe on

Love this, great job SJP! Your kids have wonderful manners!

kristina on

Her daughters are soo cute…It seems “carrie” has it all.

Love her..She’s awesome and seems like a good person.

Felice on

I was raised to send thank-yous for gifts or nice things that were done for me, and I am raising my daughter to do the same. It is common manners.

valeskas on

I was raised to do that and I raised my daughter to do the same. These days most kids are raised by parents who are selfish and their kids will be the same way.

Evellina on

How many times have I put a lot of thought and time into buying a gift for a child and that’s the last of it. There’s no thank you, nothing. This was so refreshing to hear. More parents should follow suit.

Marcia Nicol on

Great parenting! Eventually they will do this without being told, and they will pass this important social skill along to their own children.

katrina on

good idea I will do this with my son when he gets older!

bitsy on

It is certainly a sad commentary on our society today that so many of the comments note how “refreshing” this is. While it is important to instill good manners into our children, we should not be surprised, delighted, or refreshed by a story like this, celebrity status or not.

Simple Things on

Many parents now, when leaving a party will say “Thank you for inviting us to share the day with you, but please to do send a thank you card – It is just not needed” Kinda makes me feel bad, it is something simple and I think nice to get out a mailbox. My kids like to make their own cards and send them out (kids 9 and under)

diana on

I have to admit that I didn’t teach my boys to write thank-you cards, but i did teach them to always phone to say thank-you; hold doors open for others; give their seats to older people; offer help when needed, etc. They are in their 30′s now and have remained polite people. I’m terribly proud of them. I was a teacher of problem junior high kids in inner-city areas. I taught them the same. They learned quickly and people would comment on their good manners when I took them out and about. I think the compliments made them feel proud

Sherron on

Children that will turn out well, because the parents have good common sense…so refreshing…

Marcia on

I’ve had my kids do the same. It’s just good manners.

Christine on

So happy to hear that there are people still teaching their kids to send thank yous, even with current technologies. Always had my kids make a list of the gifts they received at Christmas and birthdays and then they wrote cards to the gift givers. In the last year, my youngest daughter went to two high school grad parties, two baby showers and one wedding. She only received one thank you note back!!!

Sylvia Tarvers Weston on

I applaud SJP for insisting her kids write thank you notes. No wonder we have lost civility in this country. All those pleasantries have fallen by the wayside. It’s sad.

Jacquie on

This is so refreshing to hear. I was always taught to write a Thank you note.Good for Sarah.

Andrea on

That’s funny. She needed a favor from me and when I asked for a picture with her she was so rude and chewed me out for 10 minutes in front of my coworker. A simple “no” would have been fine. I understand your not always feeling it when your a celebrity but being mean is a different story.

Anonymous on

While, I think it’s great that she instills such good values in her children. I’m left a bit perplexed. She is launching her own hallmark collection, yet she doesn’t allow her children to buy cards?!?! So her children don’t buy cards but she wants the public to buy her collection. Hmmmm.

JM on

I don’t understand why it is necessary to post every little thing a celebrity does like it’s a new invention. I think it’s great but I’m so tired of hearing this bullshit like the rest of us don’t possess manners and we should take social etiquette and diet tips from people with millions of dollars and have the world at their finger tips.

katie on

Her kids are ‘required?’ Why does the word required have ‘ ‘ around it? It makes it appear like she has the requirement, but it doesn’t always get reinforced. I agree that this is a dying art and one that shouldn’t be forgotten regardless of age.

Melissa on

^ Because it’s part of a quote…

Callie on

How wonderful! We always write thank you notes and have taught our children do it from the get go. They still do it to this day; very polite and very good manners

Bella on

Sorry but “making” your kids doing things isnt “cute”….theyre doing it because they have no choice..if they did it because they wanted to, then it would be sweet.

im not saying that teaching them to be consdierate is wrong, and raising them to be polite is awesome. Im talking about the comments about how cute is it to watch kids give a gift or make a gift….after you MADE them do it! How about doing it with them or heres an idea……SHOWING them that YOU send them. Just a thought!

ColoradoConley on

Refreshing article! And, I think I will be obsessed with SJP’s Hallmark line. It looks SO LOVELY!

4mom on

I just wish everyone wrote thank you cards. Our nephews have gotten married and we always give a generous gift. We either get no thank you at all or a generic thank you. If you get a gift from someone at least mention the gift specifically in the card. Lately the thank you always just says thanks for sharing our day, etc. I would rather you say thanks for the $100 or $250 or silverware. Just let me know that you saw what I got you!

dansgirl on

I love her. I mean I just LOVE her. She oozes style and grace while we are surrounded by the other idiots. She gives me faith that there are still some great old school people out there. Way to go, SJP! By the way, I made my boys write them, too. And I still have a copy of Emily Post in my home. : )

Carolyn on

Great Job Sarah! I love real parents and class.

Cynthia on

My Children are required to write Thank You notes too, even to their Grandparents! They also send Birthday cards, and Special Occasion cards to Family and Friends. Technology has made things so inpersonal, and we want our Children growing up learning to keep the tradition of taking time to write that special note to someone or to just send a card when they’re thinking of someone. Thank You cards show respect and kindness, two things sadly the Kids of today don’t have enough of!

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