My son and I were rushing out the door one day when he said, “You’re welcome, Mom!” out of the blue. We’d been talking about the importance of saying please and thank-you for weeks, and he wanted me to acknowledge that he’d done something that deserved a thank-you—holding the door open. It was one of those slap-yourself-on-the-forehead parenting moments. In my busyness, I had forgotten to use the very manners I’d been telling him are so important.

50+ teacher appreciation ideas, plus planning tools, flyers, and more

As adults, most of us remember to thank the people who make our lattes or hold the elevator for us. Where we sometimes fall short, I think, is in showing appreciation to those we rely upon long term, like the volunteers who reliably show up every first Friday to make popcorn. Or the teachers who not only work wonders in the classroom but also help get kids excited about your parent group’s family events.

This month (and for the rest of the school year), I hope you’ll take a few moments to thank a teacher or show appreciation to a volunteer. It could be by writing a simple email or card, or by giving a fun gift like those you’ll find in this special issue. They’re not in it for the recognition, but they’ll love the fact that you noticed their hard work. And while you’re at it, say a few extra thank-yous when you catch your kids doing something nice. You’ll be glad you did, and so will they.