What I wish people had advised me when I didn't have children.
It's that time of year where the whole world seems to be obsessed with gift giving. Lots of people would like to preach about the origins and commercialisation of this time of year, but really people don't want a lecture. What people really want is time to get on with things, but what they need is advice. Most just don't know it...
Google adwords tells me that there are millions of people searching on the words 'children's gifts' or 'children's christmas gifts' or 'gifts for children' … actually the list is very long and as a parent quite scary. There are a large number of people out there who just don't know what to buy kids.
Common pitfalls when buying for children:
Maybe cute in the shop but what's a
toddler going to do with it?I saw something and I just bought it!Hmmmm no thought went into this purchase. Actually that's unfair, a max of 30 seconds of thought went into this purchase. So you didn't ask yourself; is this age appropriate? Is this something the child has shown an interest in? Is this something the parents are going to want their child to play with? I wager 9 times out of 10 this gift is going to be inappropriate. 10 out of 10 times I bet this person doesn't know the child they are buying for.
- Ha ha ha Surprise!When it comes to buying for a child, it's always best to check with the parents that it's OK. If you buy a barking puppy toy for a child that's scared of dogs, needless to say that's going to create an unwelcome atmosphere on Christmas morning. If you want to surprise the child, make sure the surprise is going to go well by clearing it with the parents first.
- Clueless, I saw in on an advert where the kids looked happyDon't have kids? Not sure where to start? Seen Moon Sand advertised and the little kid looks about the same size as your niece? WRONG! My Daughter would just eat the sand, make herself a little unwell, throw it all over the floor and then walk over to something more appropriate for her age. Adverts are targeted at an age group, if you've seen it at 10pm at night then it's not suitable for a toddler. 'Simples'
Samurai swords, probably not age appropriateWhat age is the kid?Another pitfall, people think that their niece/nephew/grandchild is a child genius [and let's face it they all are..]. So it's cool to buy her a 3yr old toy because they are clever. Yes, yes they are clever but their play is still about learning. SO in the process of 'learning' that those things don't fit together and that you can move those other things like that... the expensive toys you bought them are broken, discarded and thrown away before they can really be appreciated. It goes both ways, buy something that is for a 3 yr old when the child is 7, then it's going to be discarded. Buy for the age group, it makes sense in the long run.
- Parents don't like it.So you bought the child a plastic pretend fast food bar because the child loved that time you took them to MaccyD / BurgersRUs! Wow the kid loves it, pushes the button and basically pretends to sell you a burger. Parents smile, let you play but don't play themselves. Yep, the parents hate it. The minute your purchase is packed in the car it is never going to see light of day again. Do they really want Prince/Princess Educated to play at serving people burgers/shopping tills/shelf stacking?! WHAT WHAT??! Do you not know their offspring are going to be a Doctor/Vet/Astronaut/Scientist/Prime Minister? If the parents don't approve then you've wasted your money.
So you know rugrats and it's that time of year where you have to spend some time thinking about gifts for them. Want to know the one piece of advice I wish someone had given me?
Ask the Mother
They are the one person that knows what the child would like or need as a present. Really, my little girl is going to grow out of her party dresses soon and we really LOVE the Annafie May in Coquelicot dress... but it doesn't matter who in our family we've told they've all 'bought something we saw while passing' or 'we have a surprise for her...'. So I'll use some of my Christmas money to treat her to one, in the meantime I'm practicing my 'oooh it's lovely' face and preparing my lovely husband's eBay account for some 'unused/nearly new' items.
|Is that the thing Uncle Bob gave me |
for Christmas in there?
[Don't believe me or disagree with this post, then go read the wise words of Oompa Grampa in our previous blog here... or leave a comment I'm always open to advice].
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If you are unsure and you don't want to lose face by asking the parents, then please feel free to ask us, we'll try to help you as much as we can. Our email is firstname.lastname@example.org.