Week 3: Giving Gifts to Children

Little Girl had a birthday party to go to this weekend, so I thought this would be a great chance to introduce her to gift-giving. I’m sure none of you are surprised that she wasn’t really interested. It’s very difficult to teach a three-year-old that it’s fun to give a gift when all she hears is that she’s not getting a gift.

I’m not sure if I went about it the wrong way (e.g. trying to make her think about what her friend might like (I’m not sure why I thought that was a good idea…)), or if I was just too persistent in nagging her about it.

Either or both of those is a likelihood.

In the end, I picked out one of the gifts, and she helped me pick out another small gift because it was a pack of something and she got one too. So much for expousing the virtues of gift-giving!

Anyway, here are some guidelines for giving gifts to children for when the grown-ups are too stressed to think clearly.

1. What was your favorite gift from childhood? Mine were always the BIGGEST toys! If you don’t get a big present, at least wrap it in a  big box!

2. As a child, would you prefer to receive one gift, or many gifts? MORE!!! Buy less expensive items, and wrap them individually (in large boxes, of course).

3. WRAP the presents! It is more fun to tear paper off a present than to be able to see what is already sticking out of a bag. Plus, if the gift is in a box it’s like getting TWO presents – whoop whoop!

4. Don’t purchase anything that requires a lot of assembly/or time spent figuring out how to untwist and pull out all the anti-theft wires. Kids want to start playing RIGHT AWAY, don’t make them wait and stress out their parents!

5. Be creative! Give a child something they can make, read, grow, move, etc. (Disclaimer: some people (cough*me*cough) really dislike messy creative toys, like clay in any brand name form and glitter, so please keep the cleaners in mind when selecting a gift – thank you!)

6. Give something that can be used up! Not only will this ensure that you can give the same gift again and again, but it won’t be shoved in a dark space to gather dust!

7. Give a coupon for time spent together, along with a tangible gift, because I’m pretty sure a coupon alone will not get you a enthusiatic thank-you note. For example, set a date to take the child on a hike and give them one of those flashlights they can wear on their heads. Inexpensive, and fun – especially if you buy yourself a head flashlight too!

8. For the parent’s sake, don’t buy anything that makes noise!

9. For the parent’s sake, don’t buy anything that makes noise! (That’s not a typo.)

10. If you choose to buy an obnoxious present, or anything without an off switch, please keep in mind that if you have or plan to have children, these favors will be returned to you and your children!

***NOTE*** Grown-ups, if you are hosting a party for a child where they will receive gifts, please make sure some form of a thank-you note is distributed. In my opinion, being grateful is just as important as being generous!!!

Now it’s your turn! What ideas/guidelines do you have for getting gifts for children?


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