Day 4 of 30 Days of Thoughtful Giving: Feel good about what you're giving to the kids in your life.
I had the great joy of becoming an aunt before I became a parent. Like many aunts, uncles, godparents, grandparents, or close friends of new parents—all of whom are thrilled to be a part of nurturing a young life—I considered one of my primary responsibilities as an aunt to be smothering my newborn nephew with gifts that he probably did not need and his parents definitely did not want.
Now that I am a parent and have been on the receiving end of some questionable holiday cheer, I have a little yuletide wisdom to share with all the aunties and uncles of the world seeking to give thoughtful gifts that both the child and parent will love: If you keep reading this, you will encounter 90+ actual gift ideas for every age and stage—none of which require batteries.
But first, here are a few questions to ask yourself while holiday shopping for the little one in your life (hop ahead if you're reading this the day you need a gift and have run out of time to be thoughtful).
The kid doesn’t care, so make it about the parents.
It’s time to start on the classics. At this age, kids are really playing with toys for the first time. The gifts that have stood the test of time are often the ones that kids will enjoy for the longest amount of time. Also, they really start moving around at this stage, so consider toys that will help them learn how to go.
Foster their imagination through gifts that help them make believe.
The brain is now processing faster and developing more memory and problem solving skills. Kids can handle slightly more complicated toys, and the delayed gratification that comes with playing with something that might take a little patience.
Social skills, logic, and the ability to limit impulses make kids in this age range able to handle much more intellectually and physically complex activities. This is the prime time for the cool aunt or uncle to foster an interest in a subject matter that interests them. Some self-explanatory ideas:
By this age, most kids have developed specific interests and tastes. Giving them something tailored to their interest is a way to show that you understand them and respect their preferences.
If you're going the DIY subscription route, I recommend putting together all the packages before you give the child the first one—so as to avoid getting busy, not following through, and disappointing a kiddo. These can be as complex or simple as you want them to be. You could send a young child stickers, coloring pages, or temporary tattoos monthly, for very little cost and effort. Or, you could create more involved kits themed on a topic that interests you, to share a passion of yours with them:
If you love art, send a small craft project with instructions and supplies. If you are Ross from Friends, you can send a toy dinosaur with a note giving some scientific information about that kind of dinosaur. If you are Phil Dunphy, you could send whatever it is that you need to do close-up magic tricks. The possibilities are endless.
Alright. If you have read this far and not come up with an awesome idea for the cool kiddo in your life, I am afraid you are beyond help. Time to resort to that singing hippo.
What gifts have your kids loved the most? Share their greatest hits in the comments.
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