Grandparenting, we've heard, is one of the best things in life. Not only do they get to watch their kids become parents, but they also get to enjoy the wonder and magic of babies and children all over again. More often than not, this joy can lead to grandparents always over gifting.
We've a ton of stories from other parents (and experienced them ourselves) about grandchildren receiving too many gifts, gifts that don't fit or things your child won’t use. It's a lot to deal with for both the overwhelmed parent and excited grandparent.
Therefore, we want to focus on the challenge of gift giving for grandparents and how to manage it.
As with all of our stories, we'd love your feedback and for you to share your own experiences about this! Leave your comments below!
The Challenges of Gift-Giving for Grandparents
Being a grandparent is generally one of the best things in the world, but it comes with its own challenges, too. Gift-giving is one of them! And it can be difficult for a variety of reasons, such as:
Many grandparents live far away from their grandkids, which makes it difficult to know what the child is interested in. When you're not there each week, seeing the day-to-day, it's hard to know what is actually needed. The distance causes disconnect and makes choosing toys more difficult for far-away grandparents.
Grandparents can sometimes feel out of touch with what the trends are in kids toys, since it's been a while since they've had little kids at home. This is a little easier when they're younger and they can focus more on developmental toys, but as kids grow, this gets harder and harder.
For the first, second and maybe the third grandchild, it's usually reasonable to buy gifts. However, by the time the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th grandchild comes along (Shoutout to those with eight or more grandchildren!), resources can get tight. Big families may struggle with how to divvy up their resources for multiple grandchildren, and gift-giving can easily get overwhelming and expensive.
A few grandparents we've talked to want to give gifts that the child will use for more than just a few weeks or months. Giving them something they can grow into feels more helpful and like a smarter investment. One grandfather we heard from likes to give his grandchildren gifts that are unique and that the kids can take with them into adulthood; to remember that "Grandpa gave me this when I was little." Even if they can't use it immediately, it's something that will stay with them for years to come.
Feeling Needed and Loved
This is a tricky one, and not something that most parents and grandparents talk with each other about. But we think it's important to mention because it can cause a lot of consternation in families. Grandparents can sometimes feel left out, or like they need to be more relevant or needed in their grandchildren's lives.
All of these challenges can weigh heavy on grandparents and make gift-giving more difficult. The more we all understand these challenges and talk about them, the better we can be at keeping gift-giving fun instead of stressful!
So what can you do to overcome the challenges of grandparents gift giving?
Have a conversation
First things first...have a conversation. Communicate your children’s wants and needs well in advance. Offer to help them select a gift or suggest alternatives to their ideas. Help them understand that less is more when it comes to toys. Educate them on the benefits of purchasing toys such as a wooden activity cube or wooden peg puzzles that not only provides multiple ways to learn through play, but also encourages development like motor skills and problem solving.
Start an educational fund for grandparents to contribute to
If you don’t want your children running around with cash and spending it on MORE toys, start an educational fund and let grandparents contribute to it. This makes it super easy for them and prevents the constant questions of “what did you do with the money.”
Grandchildren may not appreciate this while they are young but once they are able to use the educational fund and see the benefit they will remember that “grandma and grandpa helped me with this.”
Suggest quality time with your children through experiences
Last but not least, suggest gifts that your children can experience with their grandparents such as a trip to the zoo or local museum. This gives grandma's and grandpa’s a chance to spend quality time with their grandchildren while still providing something fun and exciting for your kids.
Overcoming the challenge of over-gifting from grandparents comes down to understanding where they are coming from. Then you can start the conversation to find alternatives that suit both the needs of your children and their grandparents.
For more ideas to provide your parents read about the BEST gift you can give your grandchildren!