7 Easy and Affordable Ways to Show Appreciation for Your Child’s Teacher

Another school year is coming to an end and you’ve allowed yourself a few precious minutes to stop, take a breath, and reflect on what this time has meant to your child. He or she has grown immensely both on the outside and on the inside, and you want to let his or her teacher know how much you appreciate all that she has done to guide your child throughout a successful and positive school year. Showing you are thankful and appreciative doesn’t need to break the bank or drain your time and energy. With just a little bit of planning, and a few dollars, you can show your gratitude for a special teacher.

Choose an idea from the list below, or use it to inspire your own ideas about showing your child’s teacher just how much you value the impact she has made.

Handwritten note from your child. For the biggest impact, allow your child to do as much independently as possible—even the littlest ones can add a precious handprint. His or her teacher will hear their words, and see their letters or drawings on the page and it will hold special importance for years to come. Use this formula for a truly meaningful note:

  1. Compose the thanking statement. (Thank you for the best school year ever!)
  2. Share something that was fun or memorable during the school year. (I had lots of fun learning about insects and going butterfly tagging with the class)
  3. Share an impactful moment that held meaning for your child, specifically. (You made it easy for me to learn how to ______ when you did ______.)
  4. Let your child add any personal touches—a picture, poem, or special quote will add meaning, and don’t forget to have your child sign their letter.
  5. Finally, add your words of appreciation. Include what you will always be thankful for, or how you have seen your child grow since the beginning of the year, and voila!—meaningful and memorable words of appreciation.

Gift cards for a single serve special treat. In this case, a five-dollar card should cover the bill and will be a much-appreciated treat. The key here is to personalize. If she’s into coffee and there’s a great coffee shop near the school, odds are she’ll feel very appreciated when she stops in and orders her favorite flavor on you. On the other hand, if she’s lactose intolerant, a gift certificate for a delicious ice cream at the great local creamery—homemade, or not—might not be a wise choice. Ask your child—they have spent many hours with their teacher, and odds are they will have a pretty good idea of what would show the most appreciation.

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Family recipe: Is there a delicious recipe that holds special meaning for you and your family? Maybe it’s those decadent brownies, a crowd-favorite cookie, or something savory that’s always on the host’s wish list when you offer to bring something to the party. Show your child’s teacher the big impact she has had on your child and your family by making a batch, attaching the recipe, and delivering it to the school with a note sharing about the recipe. Once she realizes that the recipe is cherished by your family, she will know that you have truly appreciated the time she has spent with your child. As an added special touch, have your child copy the recipe in their own handwriting and be sure to sign it. For years to come whenever she pulls out the card to make that delicious recipe, she will remember that she made a difference in your lives.

Vegetable plants or herbs: A popular gift for teachers is flowers—cut or potted. Take it a step further and give her a gift that keeps on giving and keeps your appreciation going throughout the season. A great patio tomato, basil or chives are easy plants to grow in pots and will provide a reminder of your appreciation all summer long.

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Collaborate with other families and send a delivery to the classroom: Do you know a few other families in the class? Have a quick conversation to see if they’d like to collaborate and organize a thank-you and appreciation gift together. There’s always a buzz in the air when the delivery person stops by the school with something special. For just a few dollars per family, your teacher can feel special and appreciated in front of the whole school! Fruit baskets, edible arrangements, candy apples, cookies, and flowers are just a few of the special and affordable treats that will make a difference. Be sure to remember to list all of the collaborating families on the accompanying card.

Lazy Day Jar: Every teacher should take some time to recharge their battery in the summer. Why not help get that started with a lazy day jar? Grab a mason jar, a gift card to the local bookstore, a small tube of sunscreen, a lip balm and a healthy snack bar. Place a colorful piece of tissue paper in the jar and drop in your special treats. This is a great gift to put together assembly-line style if you have multiple teachers you want to show appreciation.

Positive Review on Social Media: Why not go all out and let everyone know how much you appreciate your child’s teacher by shouting it from the rooftops … well, posting it on the Net! Follow the same format as the perfect thank-you letter above and you’ve got a truly meaningful post to share that will let your child’s teacher, and all her family and friends, know that she’s made a positive impact.

Teachers want to make a difference—that you are choosing to take time out of your busy schedule to think of your child’s teacher goes a long way, and this time, you will be the one making a positive impact in her life!

Jeanine Cambra, Executive Director for early education, inc., is part of the team responsible for purchasing traditional early education and Montessori schools. She spent more than 15 years as a classroom teacher, reading specialist, and school principal. See the early education, inc. website or connect on LinkedIn .