Three Gift-Giving Mistakes

Grandparenting Home and Family



This week a grandparent told me how sad she was when her little grandson opened the gift she had carefully purchased and wrapped for him only to throw it to the side saying, "I already have this".

There are three mistakes that grandparents make when they give gifts that can be avoided:

  1. Not knowing what the children have already - We live in an age of materialism where children often have more than they need or want. People freely spend their money on toys and other gifts even if it isn't a special occasion. You will never likely keep up with everything and the risk of giving a gift that the child already has is therefore very high.

Before you purchase a gift for your grandchild, ask the child and the parents to make a list of the things that they would like. Request options in different price ranges so that you can choose according to your budget. Ask good questions. Make sure that you get details such as colour, size or style).

  1. Choosing an item that will require cost or time investments - I remember how disgusted I would be when my children received toys that required batteries. Often these costs as much or more than the toy itself. When the batteries die, the child is upset and there is pressure for the parent to make a purchase that they otherwise didn't plan. It is also not very wise to send items that require assembly. Putting together a bike or complex toy requires time and sometimes tools that parents may not have. A crying and demanding child can be annoying to parents who may easily become upset with you!

If you are planning to purchase an item that needs batteries, give a supply of them with the gift. Or perhaps give batteries as your gift. Many parents would be pleased to suggest the size of batteries that is most used for items that the child owns. When you are planning to give an item that requires assembly, take your tools with you, and make it a priority to build the item with the child when it is opened. When you decide to send a gift that requires skill, be sure that you are available to teach that skill. For example, giving a sewing machine will likely not be welcomed by a non-sewer. But if you are prepared to give a few sewing lessons your grandchild will likely be excited about the gift and the time you will share.

  1. Buying an item that you like but the child doesn't - We are all tempted to purchase things that we think we would enjoy. Don't be tempted. You might want to put in some guidelines, but it is usually better to purchase things that allow the child to make some choices.

For example, rather than buying a book that you like, consider getting a bookstore gift certificate. Credit at a music store is often better than giving a music book that is at the wrong skill level or the CD of an artist that the child does not enjoy. Rather than giving money, you might consider shopping with the child and your budget. limit. This way you will also be able to learn about the items that might become future gifts.

Gift giving should be an enjoyable activity. If you avoid the three mistakes that grandparents make you will likely be able to use your creativity and also witnesses a huge smile on the face of that little person who you love so much.


Dr. Linda Hancock, the author of “Life is An Adventure…every step of the way” and “Open for Business Success” is a Registered Psychologist who has a private practice in Medicine Hat. She can be reached at 403-529-6877 or through email office@drlindahancock.com


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