How do you kids figure out what to buy their friends for their birthdays?

Karen - posted on 08/14/2012 ( 16 moms have responded )

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Daughter is school-aged and so confused. Any tips as to how to help her out?

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Genevieve - posted on 08/17/2012

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I always ask when we RSVP. And in my questions if they dont have a good answer is "Ok, Well are there any things you DON"T want then?" At least then I have an idea of what to avoid. Some parents dont like thier kids to play with Barbies. Or the little girl has sooo many Polly Pockets that if they get another the parent will scream. Or that the child doesnt take great care of small things like jewlery. I know I have told people NO Crafts! Just cause we already had an overwhelming amount of craft stuff in our craft cupboard already. And even then parents chose to get crafts. But at least I wasnt bombarded with yet another pack of crayons and a colouring book.

[deleted account]

This can be tricky... I always start by asking the mum what she'd recommend for her kid.

Sometimes for a good friend I offer an "event-based present" ie taking them to the movies, or going rock climbing, going out for dinner, or going to a special pool with a big slide... that can be much more fun than giving them a plastic thing that they dont even want! The kids often jump at this option.

Otherwise - when you go to another party, keep a note of all the range of presents that the other parents have bought. I'm often amazed at how much people spend on presents - my limit is $20, or $15 if it's a huge party with a million guests.

Looking forward to seeing what other people say.

Heidi - posted on 08/16/2012

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I suggest that my son buy a gift that he would like to receive. As kids age we often put cash in a card to equal their age plus a candy we know they like.

Gabrielle - posted on 08/16/2012

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We buy a lot of board games. That way we can avoid making judgments about what a child might like based on their gender, and we get them something that involves interacting with family or friends. I often choose something that my daughter has and likes. And I always include a gift receipt.

Hillary - posted on 08/16/2012

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I typically have my kids make a card for their friend and then we put cash in it and give them that. All the kids have such varying likes and dislikes that it is near impossible to come up with a gift. I find cash works well, my son got a total of $125 from his friends and family members, he was then able to get one thing he really wanted instead of a bunch of little things that were broken or forgotten about in a matter of hours/days.

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Julie - posted on 09/14/2012

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I am trying to teach my kids to take responsibility for the communication with their friends as early as possible. So they ask the friend what they want, and we go buy it. Or my boys know what they'd like to get them. $25-30.00 budget in mind. They love picking out gifts for friends. Otherwise, I text the parent for a "wish list" or last resort gift cards are always welcome.

Christine - posted on 09/14/2012

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I try to get educational gifts where they can play and learn at the same time

Queen - posted on 09/11/2012

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tell her to pick something she would like! that's y they r friends they have common interest and it may expose the other girl to something she may not have chosen for herself!

Bobbie - posted on 08/31/2012

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I look to the party invitation and the theme to set the tone for the gift. Say for example the theme is Hello Kitty then I can be safe knowing she likes that brand and purchase within my price range. If she is having a slumber party with all girls then it would be safe and cute to purchase her personal items such as slippers or pillow. If however the party is being held publicly with mixed company I would go with less personal items like a cell phone cover or nail products. I would take your daughter to shop for her friend with a clear price point AND that she is to purchase only one item. I learned that if I set a $20 limit she would shop for multiple things to hit that amount. If you are lucky to find something great for just $10 then you and she both should feel good about your choice and not make it about the money. Actually when someone gives a child multiple things it isn't received well by other gift givers or the parents. That is only my opinion.

Jerrilyn - posted on 08/19/2012

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I favor games, art supplies, and BOOKS for my daughters' friends. She is a rising 2nd grader, so her friends are all at that point where encouraging their developing reading skills with interesting, fun books is key. When asked for ideas for HER, I've given parents the names of series of chapter books she likes. I was so thankful at her last birthday party for her not to receive a bunch of toys. I like the movie pass idea, though! That's a great idea!! Gift cards to Target or Wal-Mart or probably good ways to go too. Depending on the age, iTunes gift cards might be handy also.

Sherri - posted on 08/16/2012

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Whatever your daughter is into is probably what her friends are into or we just get gift cards.

Kristin - posted on 08/15/2012

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I always ask the parents what the child needs and or wants. If they have no answer i will try to find an age appropriate toy or give a gift certificate to somewhere fun.

Shannon - posted on 08/15/2012

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I love to give movie passes. Movies are so expensive. Mom's love it when their kids get these because it is one less toy for them to have to pick up and helps out when going to the movies.

Amy - posted on 08/14/2012

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I always ask the parents when I RSVP then give my son the suggestions they gave me. He can choose from the list what he wants to get.

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