Children’s parties can be tricky as you may not know the child you’ll be buying for and your own children might not be able to give much help in the gift-buying department.
Find out as much as you can
Quiz your child to find out what the birthday boy or girl is like. Some children might be very helpful, some might only be able to tell you what the other child is like in school.
If you find out that the child in question always brings a packed lunch of healthy food then you’ll know that a bucket of sweets probably won’t be appreciated by the parents. There are so many items to choose from, right down to personalised cards.
Ask the parents
If you already have a relationship with the parents of the birthday child, finding out what to buy them can be simple. However, if you don’t know the parents, they’ll probably have left a contact number on the invitation.
Give them a call and ask what their child would like as a birthday present. Even if they don’t give you any specific ideas they can let you know what the child might like. This then allows you to make a decision based on your budget.
This might be a bit of a cop-out but older children would definitely appreciate the freedom to spend money on what they really want. It also teaches them a little bit about handling and spending money.
Appease the parents
How would you feel if someone bought your child a BB gun, or a messy chemistry set? Make sure you’re buying something sensible that won’t cause the parents any undue stress. That’s not the best way to make friends or be invited to the next party.
While it may be tempting to buy a girl a Barbie and a boy a toy pirate ship, this isn’t always the best choice unless you know the child is interested in those things. A lot of the more modern parents tend not to like the distinction between girl’s toys and boy’s toys.
Simple board games and puzzles tend to be safe gifts for children. They can often offer hours of entertainment, aren’t messy and can be used over and over again.
Any gift that furthers a child’s learning has to be a good thing. Look for craft sets, science kits, books and puzzles.
If you want to buy something like a pogo stick, pop up football goal or ride-on toy pony, make sure the child’s parents have room in their house/garden for such a thing. If you buy a football goal for a family who live in a first floor flat then it’s probably not going to get used.
If you can’t find out if there’s the space for a larger item then don’t buy one.
When it comes to buying a card, go for something age-appropriate. While adult birthday cards can be funny, the humour is often lost on the child and can be quite inappropriate.