(Photoillustration Tablet Magazine; original photo Shutterstock)

Today on Tablet, Marjorie Ingall has important advice on keeping your kids civilized. The key is to start early.

You know those Hanukkah presents your children received? They have to say thank you. If they are old enough to hold a crayon, they are old enough to write a thank-you note. You say, “Let’s make a picture for Auntie Sophie! She sent you that fabulous plastic dreidel full of chocolate you ate in a nanosecond, remember?” If the kid is too young to write anything, you write the note on the picture and tell the kid what you’re doing. Believe me, children absorb things the way a latke absorbs oil, especially when these lessons are consistent. If the kid can write his name, have him sign the note. If the kid is physically capable of writing her own note, force her. If the child is hesitant, withhold food. Withhold affection. Our ancestors survived repeated attempts at annihilation; their descendants will survive being made to write thank-you notes.

Check out the rest here…please…for all of us.