Gift Giving 101: Buying For Children (Who Aren’t Yours)

Gift Giving 101There’s no denying it… kids love to get stuff.  Big things, little things and everything in between.  I feel like we’re always buying something for one child or another.  After all, a class of 24 kids will give you an average of 2 birthday parties a month!  If that’s not enough, I happen to have a kid who LOVES to buy things for other people.  She is always asking to buy such-and-such for so-and-so.  Usually it’s something like Furby ($54 O.o) that is totally out of our gift giving price range.

Child opening giftsAnd then there’s the other side of the coin…gift getting.  Who doesn’t like getting a gift?  Especially kids… have you ever known a kid not excited about getting a gift?  Definitely not mine.

As the parent of the gift giver, there are some things you can do/keep in mind to make sure the parent of the gift getter appreciates the gift as much as the child does.

1) Are there younger siblings in the home?  If yes, keep that in mind when buying a gift.  Thankfully, we are out of the ‘swallow tiny pieces’ age range around here now that I’ve said that someone will swallow something so, this isn’t too much of a problem for us when we receive gifts, but it would have been 2 years ago.  While Addison would have been perfectly fine to receive/play with standard sized Lego Bricks, we had a mobile one year old and Lego Bricks would have been a dangerous addition to our home.  This holds true for many, many other toys that while age/intellect appropriate for Addison, would not have been great gifts to receive.

2) Do you personally know the child and where they are intellectually?  If there aren’t any safety concerns (ie – younger children) and you see a gift that you think a kid will love, you can buy it regardless of the age range on the package.  Cullen is 3 and has tons of toys that are for 5+.  They are some of his favorites.  The age ranges listed on packages are really general guidelines to cover an range of appropriateness for safety and interest, but that doesn’t mean they are accurate for every child.  I’ve purchased scrapbooking kits for a 4 year old before.  While the kit was clearly intended for an older child, I knew this child and knew that not only was she completely capable of doing the scrapbook as a project (her mom scrapbooks) but that she would love it.  It worked out great.

3) If you don’t know the child, don’t be afraid to reach out to the parents and ask what kind of things their child likes.  This is definitely something you’ll encounter, if you haven’t already, especially when your child starts to make friends outside of your social circle and you’re attending birthday parties for children you may not know.  Gift cards, though not always as fun for the child, are a great option here too.  Still, it’s good to find out if there is a particular store that the child would appreciate a gift card to.

4) Receipts – Always give a gift receipt.  There’s little more frustrating than having your child get something they can’t use and not being able to return it because you either don’t know where it came from or the store has a return policy that doesn’t allow returns without a receipt.  Even Wal-Mart has started to get hard core about returns.

5) Think about the parents… Just because you don’t mind Play-doh and glitter doesn’t mean the gift getter’s parents will appreciate the joy in their child’s eyes when they see the 15 color glitter, sequin and glue craft you picked up for little Suzy.  Fear and horror are more indicative of what I would feel.  Sure, my kid would love (like giant pink puffy heart love) it, but I might want to do you bodily harm.

As a parent, are their gifts that make you cringe?   Share them with me, and any other tips that you think are important when buying gifts for children, and I will share them throughout the week.

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5 Responses to Gift Giving 101: Buying For Children (Who Aren’t Yours)

  1. We are a no glitter home.
    One year a friend gave my daughter an enormous kit with glitter (and other messy things) and she gave it with…a cheapo plastic shower curtain! We could spread that puppy out on the kitchen table (and once on the back porch, even)and just fold it up when we were finished. There was no mess at all. I’ve done the same thing when giving messy-ish things and it’s always been a big hit. –Lisa

  2. Stacy says:

    Glittery goop is the best, for someone else’s kiddo ;)

  3. I love this – and I’m reading this at the perfect time as we get ready for lots of birthday’s for school friends! I always have a hard time, but I know how gifts are sometimes in our house, and I want to get something they will really love. Pinning this for future reference! ;)

  4. Carissa says:

    You know what I loved when my kids were attending and hosting tons of events/friends? HOMEMADE gifts. Things they made and thought about…

    They already get and have enough plastic doo dads and stuff…

    We actually made a rule early on to have NO GIFTS at our parties but then amended the rule and let folks know either no gift or a homemade gift. I thin it’s CRAZY hard to come up with gifts for other kids year after year.. thanks for your list of ideas! :)

  5. These are great tips! I always ask parents when it comes to Play-doh or anything loud or noisy just in case.

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