When you give a child a present, there’s a little more going on behind the scenes than when you give an adult a present.
With a child, you have to think about the things they enjoy and what a suitable budget is – just as you do for an adult. But where things get more confusing is in the consideration of whether the gift is suitable or not. Is it a good influence? Will they choke on it??
Then there’s the matter of whether or not it’s going to frustrate the parents. In many cases, the gift you give the children is going to be a gift you give the parents in a sense. If you’re getting a present for a 3 year old son or daughter of one of your friends, they likely won’t remember whether you gave them something or not – but the parents will.
With all that in mind, it’s actually just as important that your gift be appreciated by the parents as it is that it be appreciated by the child! So how can you give a gift that will please both parties?
Things Not to Give
A good place to start perhaps would be with all the things that you shouldn’t get for a child unless you want to quickly lose friends.
Some pointers on things not to buy:
Annoying gifts: Try to avoid giving children gifts that are very noisy or very messy. The objective is to give the parents something they can let their child play with quietly. This buys them some respite from parenting, which they’ll greatly appreciate! If you gave the child a bugle horn though, then it’s not going to be very well received.
Dangerous gifts: This goes without saying but it’s still a mistake some people make. Avoid any obviouslydangerous gifts such as airsoft guns (I got given one of these as a kid!) or anything sharp. Likewise though, think about the inventive ways that a child can turn a safe toy into a dangerous one. Is it big enough that they won’t swallow it?
Bad influences: You also want to avoid getting gifts that might be seen as a bad influence. That means films, TV shows or computer games that aren’t age appropriate for instance. Likewise, some parents might also prefer to avoid anything that they consider ‘trashy’. If the media appears to be aimed at the lowest demographic with puerile humor and shallow plots, then some parents won’t like it. It’s always worth actually watching DVDs before giving them – YouTube can offer a good preview.
If the child is very young, then the parents will be likely to appreciate practical gifts. For instance, new parents will often say that they appreciate getting nappies. Likewise, as the kids get older they might enjoy educational toys or things like kid-friendly furniture.
Do think carefully about this though and don’t be afraid to ask if you’re uncertain – it’s easy otherwise to get this sort of thing wrong.
For example, many new-born children will receive so many clothes that they can never wear all of them before they grow up! Another issue here is the size of the clothes – it’s always better to get clothes that are too big that the child will grow into, rather than getting clothes that will only fit for a week!
Gifts for Older Children
For older children, you can start looking at more interesting gifts.
What’s important here is to consider the interests and hobbies of the child, as well as their general sensibilities. Try to avoid buying ‘generic’ gifts just because they’re aimed at children. For example, if you buy the child a Transformers comic and they only like Ben 10, then it won’t go down well. Just because they’re children, you still need to spend the time to get to know them!
Then again, this is where the discrepancy comes in between what the children enjoy and what the parents deem suitable. If the kid loves Grand Theft Auto then you may want to check before getting them the latest game. The same for anything else potentially violent and/or offensive.
In fact, video games themselves can be divisive: sometimes they’re a great distraction that will give parents peace and quiet. But other parents worry about the effect that video games can have on their children’s health.
Again, the safest bet is often to check – though if you can find something that’s good for the child or that helps them to learn, this will almost always be a safe choice from the perspective of the parents. Ideally, look for something that is fun but that also offers some health or educational benefit. Sports are great for this (find out what team the child supports), as are books.
Source – GiftsAndSpecialOccasions.com