Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Good, Bad, and Ugly of Gifting For Kids

It may seem like something of a parental cop-out to suggest that gifts can come in the form of life lessons. That may be true too; after all, no one can get particularly excited about the idea of unwrapping the general concept of kindness - though it undoubtedly is a gift of sorts!
Nevertheless, there’s plenty around gifting that could do with a bit more thought. We now live in a world where parents will probably tout the money they have spent on their kids for Christmas (and even Easter) as a banner to be proud of. “Look how much stuff I’ve bought!” is the general message.

Now, that’s not to be too judgmental. It’s impossible to know the motivations that someone might have for doing this. Perhaps they didn’t have much as a child and are now loving the fact they can provide more for their own children. Perhaps they are just wanting to share the excitement of the event with their friends and family. And yes, some will just be doing it purely for the sake of bragging - but this isn’t a competition. Or at least, it shouldn’t be.

Why Do We Give Gifts? The Good Side

In a world where most of us buy without thinking about it, why do we give gifts?

The general consensus is that we give them as a signal of our affection. It’s a sign of: I saw this and thought you would like it, and because you’re important to me, I wanted you to have it. It’s therefore no surprises that parents want to gift to their children.

When Gifting Goes Bad

The sad fact is that, sometimes, gifting can be a problem for parents. No doubt caving to pressure from their kids, some parents make the mistake of giving animals as gifts. We all know about how a puppy is not just for Christmas, but it’s now becoming a fact we have to warn a chick is not just for Easter.

Is there anything inherently wrong with giving an animal as a gift? Of course not! But it has to be about more than the day itself. That puppy that is going to be so adored on Christmas Day is going to grow into an adult dog. That dog is going to need caring for, may incur expensive vet bills, treating with Frontline Plus, walking and every other dog-related activity for around the next 15 years. So if your child is ready for that kind of commitment (and you’re ready to support them), then you’re good to go.

The Ugly Reasons For Giving Gifts

If you find yourself looking for gifts for any of the following reasons, then it might be worth taking a moment to think about what you’re doing:

  • You’re buying because you feel you should and because it’s what everyone does.
  • Due to the above, you’re no longer giving gifts that you are sure are going to be loved - you’re giving them because you’re stressfully trying to satisfy a quota.
  • You’re buying a “must have” gift because gift guides have said it’s the gift every kid wants this year, but you’re not even sure if your own child does.

So the next time you have an approaching birthday or the Christmas ads are starting to appear, think through your purchases - from the day of receipt right down to the next few years of your life. Do it for the right reasons and give your kids the best gift of all: consideration.

The Perfect Kids' Birthday Party

Throwing a birthday party for your child is one of the most joyous things you can do with them, and it is always great to enjoy your little ones’ birthdays in any way you can. However, that doesn’t mean that there is no stress in the planning of the day itself; even just organising a little get together can soon take it out of you. If you are planning to throw your child a birthday party this year, and you want it to be on a bigger scale to usual, then read on. Let’s take a look at some of the major elements that you will need to get right if you want it to be as great as possible for your child.

Invite Early - And In Style

The earlier you invite people to the party, the better, as it gives people a good amount of notice. This means that those who are coming have longer to prepare or clear their schedule, and those who aren’t coming aren’t going to be such a shock to you, so you have longer to prepare as well. So send out those invite early, and bear in mind too that the quality of the invitations themselves are a huge factor in how likely people are to say yes to coming. Using card embossing and other such techniques can ensure that your invitations are sent out in style - and this bodes well for the big day itself.

Decorate Sparingly

A huge mistake that parents tend to make is that hey fuss too much over how the day looks. It goes without saying that you probably want to decorate the party to some extent of course, but try not to overdo it, as this usually only results in a poorer atmosphere than if you hadn’t decorated at all. Take your time with it, too, as this will ensure that you don’t end up accidentally getting carried away with the process of decorating.

Provide An Array Of Food

Let’s be honest: the food is one of the primary reasons that people attend such occasions. You should make every effort to cater, literally, for everyone who comes, and with children's parties this can be much easier said than done. After all, you are going to have both adults and children present, so you want to make sure that you are providing decent sustenance for both of those major groups. Let’s not forget the importance of asking the birthday girl or boy what they want too - if there is one day when you can probably allow them whatever treat they want, it’s their birthday.

Consider Entertainment

You don’t necessarily have to go all-out on entertainment, but there is a certain joy on having some at least. All children’s parties can be hugely improved by the addition of a magician or a clown, and you might find that it is a great way of giving the day a kind of focus. Chose your entertainment well, and as with the other elements of a perfect party, don’t overdo it too much.