Grandparents have a well deserved reputation for spoiling their grandchildren. They do this in lots of different ways, but by far the biggest culprit is through gift giving. Grandparents love to shower their grandchildren with gifts! No doubt about it. They give gifts for holidays, to honor special occasions, to celebrate accomplishments, and just for the fun of it.
But gift giving does have its pitfalls. Many grandparents report difficulty in selecting just the right gift for a grandchild. To be successful, gift giving requires some time and effort on the part of grandparents. It takes planning and knowing your grandchild’s interests and desires.
I talked with several grandparents recently and asked them about the kinds of gifts that they give to their grandchildren. High on the list was books. Some grandparents said that they give their grandchildren books for all occasions and include a special inscription in the book. For book choices, they rely on parents’ suggestions, a librarian or their grandchildren.
Other popular gifts include computer software, clothing, jewelry, toys, and DVDs. Magazine subscriptions, too, are popular gifts for grandchildren. National Geographic Kids, American Girl, and Highlights are some of the favorites of younger children, and they look forward to their arrival in the mail. If you decide to purchase a toy, consider the age appropriateness of the toy and if the toy will have play value over a long period of time.
One grandparent told me that he set up a college fund for his grandson when his grandchild was a baby and that he contributes to the fund at gift giving time. He said he was surprised that his grandson, who is nine, has accepted this arrangement and is perfectly happy getting this gift for his future.
With a little imagination, grandparents can devise gifts that are personal and creative. Grandchildren have a strong interest in knowing what their parents were like as children. You can give a special family keepsake such as a book or toy from their parent’s childhood or make a chronological photo album of their parent’s growing-up years.
If you have artistic talent, give your art as a gift. Sew doll clothes, make a bird house, or crochet holiday ornaments. Handmade gift certificates for an outing or event can be a treat for both you and your grandchild. The gift certificates can include visits to favorite places such as the zoo, the aquarium, the science center or to a sporting event or play. Gifts that involve spending time together also give the added bonus of building and maintaining relationships.
Since food is a huge part of family life, family cookbooks and recipes can be a treasured gift for an older grandchild. These can be cookbooks that were owned by older relatives or cookbooks that you create containing your favorite family recipes. You can keep it simple with a collection of Xeroxed recipes or have your family cookbooks professional printed and bound.
Whatever gift you select for your grandchildren, be sure to include the added bequest of love and acceptance. When you take time to be with your grandchildren, when you listen to them and stay connected, you are giving the most priceless gift of all – a gift that will last a lifetime.