25+ Ways to Thank Your Parents for Their Support & Love

Contributing writer, former long-term care admissions counselor and social worker

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A genuine thank you can go a long way. But how do you thank the people who have done so much for you? Major life events like graduations and weddings are the perfect time to give Mom and Dad a shout out, but remember, your thank you doesn’t have to be spoken to be appreciated. 

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Here are some ways to show gratitude for the people you owe everything to. 

How to Say ‘Thank You’ to Parents After Your Wedding

Planning and executing your dream wedding is no small feat and parents are usually involved in many steps along the way. Whether Dad pulled out his wallet, Mom stayed up all night to create centerpieces, or they were just there when you needed them most, they deserve a shout out after your special day. 

1. Say, “Thank you for making my special day picture perfect!” 

An underestimated yet effective way to express your gratitude for your parents is to sit down and talk. Be specific and genuinely thank them for things that did and said during your wedding planning and on your special day. 

Pro tip: Set a time up for after the honeymoon to have some time with your parent(s) so you can adequately thank them!

2. Make them a photobook.

After your wedding, you will be given hundreds of beautiful photos from your photographer. Photos of your family are incredible keepsakes worth filling a photo album and sharing with your mom and dad. 

Pro tip: Plan to take special photos for your parents on your wedding day. You might recreate a wedding photo your parents took years ago or take a photo with a sign that says, “Forever your little boy/girl.” 

3. Create a special social media post. 

In the days of social media, a post dedicated to thanking your parents might be expected but is still highly appreciated. When thanking your guests for being there, you can specifically thank your parents for their part in the big day. 

4. Send your parents a card.

A thank you note with your handwritten kind words is more than enough for many parents. They do not do things for the recognition, but it is always nice to be thanked! 

5. Pay for a night out.

The wedding was all about you and now it’s time to give back. Send mom and dad out on a dinner date or to a spa day. 

Pro tip: If they are missing you after your many months together planning the wedding, make it a double date! 

How to Say ‘Thank You’ to Your Parents After Your Graduation

Graduation is not just a huge moment in a graduate's life, it is for parents as well. Children aren’t simply leaving school and moving onto the next thing, they’re one step closer to growing up and leaving home. Parents have been there through study help, friend drama, and everything in between. Thank them for the huge part they’ve had in your success. 

6. Make a video or slideshow.

You can get creative and put together a photo slideshow or a mix of photos and videos. Also, a video can live forever on a flash drive so you give them a keepsake for life. 

Pro tip: Include a special message from yourself thanking them for their guidance and love at the beginning or end of the video. 

7. Plan a day together.

Graduation is just a reminder that their baby is growing up. Don’t leave your parents behind! Plan a special day together that includes your favorite activities over the years. 

8. Speech at a party saying “You have inspired me over the years because…” 

If you are planning to celebrate your graduation with a party, you are encouraged to say a few words to your guests. In your speech, mention your parents and what they have done to help you with this milestone. Explain just how they have inspired you and why their inspiration means so much to you. 

9. Give your parents a childhood photo gift.

There are countless possibilities to make a special photo into something even more special. Choose a photo like your first day of school photo with your parents. Online shops like Etsy offer items like a painting of your photo to a glass etching.

Pro tip: Be ready with the tissues! 

10. Include your parents in your planning.

One way to show you are thankful and respect their opinions is to include them in your post-graduation plans. They can help you choose your trip destination, college or graduate school or next living arrangements. 

How to Say ‘Thank You’ to Parents for a Nice Gift 

It might be a holiday gift or a “just because,” but either way, it’s important to thank your parents for spending their money on getting you the perfect gift. 

11. Do chores. 

Are there things around the house they do without recognition? How about that chore you have to be reminded to do 10 times? Spend the time doing these chores yourself without asking for help or a thank you. 

Pro tip: Send your parents out when you decide to do this to make for a sure surprise. 

12. Say, “Thank you for the gift, I am going to use it this way...” 

A verbal thank you can be just enough. Instead of a simple “Thanks, Mom,” carve out a special time to sit down and explain just how important this was for you. Tell your parents why and how you will use it. 

13. Show them you’re putting the gift to good use.

It’s important to show your parents their purchase was not worthless or unappreciated. Show them how you’re using it and give them a shot at using or playing with it as well. 

Pro tip: Show your parents exactly how you’ve been using their gift. For example, maybe they gave you the expensive paintbrushes you’d been asking for. Create a painting for them as a thank you. 

14. Say, “Thank you for thinking of me…”

If you enjoy the gift your parents gave you, it means they were listening. They know you well and have gifted you something you love. Tell them just how much you appreciate their thoughtfulness! 

15. Give them a special gift in return.

It’s always a great surprise when you are given something you wanted but decided not to buy in the past. Go back to that store they put down a shirt they loved or create something special they didn’t even know they wanted! 

How to Say ‘Thank You’ to Your Parents for Their Love

It might seem impossible to thank your parents for their immeasurable impact on your life. Their love for you has helped you grow and become the person you are. Here are some ideas to express your appreciation.

16. Write a handwritten letter. 

Similar to a note, a letter allows you to properly go into detail and discuss specific times you felt loved and how thankful you are. 

Pro tip: Don’t write it all in one sitting. Plan a few different times to come to this letter so you can think of all the best memories to include. 

17. Send them to the spa or on a trip.

Who doesn’t love a trip? If you can afford it, sending your parent(s) on a getaway like a spa day — they’ll put themselves for once. 

18. Say, “I appreciate you because…”

It’s one thing to say you appreciate someone, but when you include the reasons why, it brings that thank you to the next level. 

Pro tip: Brainstorm before you talk so you can remember the most important times they put you first. Don’t forget those 6 a.m. wake-ups for soccer practice! 

19. Spend time doing something they love. 

You might not enjoy your parents’ music or TV taste but devoting time to things they love shows you care. 

20. Create a family tree.

A family tree is a nice thing to have but your parents might not have it because it takes time to create and research. Any project like this will be appreciated by your parents. 

How to Say ‘Thank You’ to Your Parents at the End of Their Lives

It’s so hard to find the right things to say. Even if you knew it was coming, it’s never easy to prepare for the end of your parent’s life. You must be there for your mom or dad. In their last days, be sure your parents know you are thankful for everything and that they’re leaving behind a wonderful legacy. 

21. Say, “The best advice you have given me is…” 

Even parents at the end of their lives have wisdom to give. Wisdom lives on in your choices and actions. What advice meant the most to you? What advice have you taken? Plan to take? Talk to your parents about how much it was valued. 

22. Give your parents your time.

Simply be there. Until you can find the words, be present and accessible. 

23. Ask questions. 

Showing interest in your parents means the world to them. Ask them about their favorite memories, toughest lessons, and what they are most proud of. 

Pro tip: Include their memories and wisdom in a memory book dedicated to them and/or your family. 

24. Give your parents a comforting gift. 

A gift of comfort at the end of life might be a soft blanket, a beautiful smelling candle, favorite flowers, or a newly framed photo of the family. 

25.  Say, “I’m so proud to be your son/daughter.” 

Show your parents the respect and love you have for them and can also be beneficial to you as you live on without them. 

Thank Your Mom and Dad 

They say you don’t know unconditional love until you have a child. Your parent has not only given you life but has taught you all you need to know, loved you no matter what, and supported you as you grew. There are never enough words or gifts to give, but sharing your honest words and showing an effort goes a long way to say thank you to parents. 

Looking for more ways to say thanks? Read our guides on how to say thanks to mom and how to say thanks to dad

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