13 Mar 2020
We know that kids get super-excited about receiving gifts (hands up if you’re used to being woken up at crazy o’ clock on Christmas and birthday mornings), but they LOVE giving them, too. Yes, younger children might need some extra help and direction when it comes to choosing and buying thoughtful presents, but it’s well worth taking the time to teach them how rewarding it is to give to others.
Did you know that learning how to give thoughtful gifts is an important part of a child’s financial education? That’s because recognising the different ways that money can benefit those around them helps children to understand its value. Not only that, saving and shopping for a gift provides the perfect framework to talk about about earning, budgeting, acts of kindness and savvy shopping.
As an added bonus, gifting also makes us feel good. Studies show that giving to others boosts self esteem, reduces stress and increases happiness. That’s because the brain releases feel-good chemicals like serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin when we treat someone to something special.
Remind your child that it doesn’t matter how little they spend; we give to others as a way to show that we care. Then read on to find out how to help your child give great gifts…
In the run up to birthdays or seasonal celebrations like Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, encourage your child to plan ahead and set a sensible budget for the gifts they’d like to buy. This is especially important at Christmas, when they’re most likely to buy gifts for several people.
Budgeting for gifts not only helps your child to understand how much they can afford to spend, it encourages them to set a saving goal. This is a great opportunity to get your child into the habit of saving a small amount of pocket money over several weeks or months, rather than splashing out on last-minute purchases and blowing all their pocket money in one go.
Yes, it’s tempting to buy gifts on your child’s behalf, or handover some extra cash so that they can buy presents without putting a dent in their weekly pocket money. But giving with their own money is much more meaningful, so why not create opportunities for them to earn a little extra?
Helping out around the house, washing the car or walking the dog are easy ways for your child to supplement their income, while also contributing to family life. And they’ll feel so proud when they’re able to buy a gift and pay with money they earned themselves.
Young children tend to think that everyone enjoys exactly the same things as them; so why not get Grandma a birthday pot of purple slime, or choose a cute Hatchimal for a Mother’s Day gift?
To help them buy a more meaningful gift, encourage your child to think about the things that the person they’re buying for would really appreciate. What do they enjoy? Do they collect anything? What are their interests? What do they like to buy for themselves? Perhaps Dad has a favourite type of biscuit, or their best friend would love a new hair clip to add to their collection.
This is a good time to point out that thoughtful gifts are always the most meaningful. As the old saying goes, it’s the thought that counts.
Once your child has decided on the perfect gift, encourage them to shop around to find the best price. Show them how to compare prices in different shops, look out for sales, promotions or discount codes, and check for better deals online.
This is a good way to introduce the concept of savvy shopping. Explain that their money will go further when they shop wisely, which means they might even have enough leftover to buy an extra treat.
There’s nothing nicer than receiving a handmade gift – and it’s a great way to show that you care without spending much money. Depending on your child’s age and ability, encourage them to make birthday cards, draw pictures, bake cakes, make bookmarks or knit scarves.
If your child enjoys crafts, homemade gifts are particularly well received by family members who value a lasting keepsake – and baking a birthday cake or cookies for a friend is guaranteed to make them feel special.