Tips for Choosing the Right Gift for Children

Every time I look in our toy/game closet I am reminded of all the gift giving opportunities I didn’t pass up!  Regardless of the opportunity,… birthday, holidays, end of school celebration, start of school celebration, first tooth, second tooth … I jumped on it and bought my grandsons gifts!  And don’t let this list fool you, […]
Tips for Choosing the Right Gift for Chidlren
Every time I look in our toy/game closet I am reminded of all the gift giving opportunities I didn’t pass up! 
 
Regardless of the opportunity,
… birthday, holidays, end of school celebration, start of school celebration, first tooth, second tooth … I jumped on it and bought my grandsons gifts!  And don’t let this list fool you, the actual gift giving opportunity list is too extensive to itemize here!   
 
Each box represents an event, a memory, an emotion for me
But I often wonder, what does each box represent for the kids?  Do they have the same attachment to each box?  Do they recall the event when they received that box or the emotion they felt when they ripped off the wrapping paper?  The sad truth is probably not.  
 
If you think back to your own childhood gifts, how many birthday, holiday, etc. gifts can you recall receiving? 
Unless it was a car for your seventeenth birthday, you probably don’t remember what you received for your eighth birthday or the Christmas gifts you received when you were eleven.  You might remember the excitement you felt when you saw the piles of wrapped boxes tied with ribbons and bows.  However, unless there was a significant emotional charge attached to the gift or to the disappointment of not receiving a gift you wanted, you probably have no recollection of any of gifts you have received in your life.
 
So how do parents find the balance between keeping the excitement of receiving gifts and 
over-filling the closet with toys and games, too numerous to enjoy?  
 
The first step is to take a little inventory.  
Go through your kids closet to see what is actually played with, what hasn’t been touched since the day it was received and what they have outgrown. 
 
Create a donation pile.  
Getting the kids involved in this process is a great way to instill the idea of gratitude and empathy.  Children don’t have the capacity for gratitude the way we as adults do but this is where it starts.  Talk about how lucky we have been over the years to have received so many wonderful gifts and now that we no longer play with them we can share them with children who don’t have the same opportunity.  Starting the conversation about economics in a non threatening and guilt ridden manner can open kids to the concept of empathy.  Sharing, caring, releasing what no longer serves us are all life long lessons that can easily begin at a very early age with toy donations.  
 
What do you do when its time to buy another gift?
Gifts are a large part of every occasion and should not be eliminated.  What would a birthday be without presents?  What would Christmas/Hanukkah be without gifts?  Those of you who are old enough to remember Mommy Dearest know how that ends!  And the what would happen to the joy of the giver if we ended gift giving?  
 
Finding Balance
Instead of over-buying or eliminating gift giving altogether, what if we balanced the gifts – some for the closet and some for a later experience.  Wouldn’t it be nice to extend the occasion by creating another one with the gift?  
 
Shopping for a gift
So often we empty out the toy store for their birthdays and holidays. We neglect to think about the rest of the year. Next time you hit the toy store, stop and ask yourself, will this toy bring meaning for the child or will it simply add to their pile of toys.  If your answer is YES to the gifts you have chosen, ask yourself another question.  Do I need to give all these gifts now or can I spread them out over the year?  
 

Gift an experience                                                                                                                       Imagine giving your child a slightly smaller pile of gifts and a gift certificate to a local farm or kid’s gym for a day’s outing with the family and maybe a couple of friends.  Or how about a visit to a kid’s museum or art studio.  … just think about the excitement of planning the extension of their special day.  It could be bowling, a swim lesson, an amusement park … whatever peaks your child’s interest and will elicit that emotional connection we want to foster.

Need suggestions?
Visit  https://jessiespartystop.com/listing-category/venues/ for great ideas and themed venues that could take the place of another box for the closet!  Remember, it’s the feeling that our kids are going to remember not the boxes.  Let’s give them something to attach those great feeling to … a wonderful memory!  
 
 Written by: Guest Blogger, Deb Smith of Deb Smith Life Coach

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