The Play Forum is a collection of voices from parents and people in the toy and children’s entertainment industries. Read what’s on their minds, and join the conversation.
If your child is anything like mine, he or she is probably invited to a lot of birthday parties. Kids love inviting their friends and classmates from school, and it makes for a fun birthday experience for everyone involved. But there is a certain etiquette required for birthday parties, including what type of gift to buy.
Over the years, I’ve made a few mistakes when it has come to buying gifts for birthday parties, so I have come up with some tips that I utilize before I make a purchase so that it is a win/win for everyone.
Check out these 7 Things to Consider When Buying a Birthday Gift for a Child:
1. Safety and Ratings
Before you buy a gift for any child, it is important that you check the safety and ratings of the gift. We all know that it is easy for kids to fall in love with the latest and greatest toy fad or craze, but if it isn’t safe, then it is not something we should be giving to any child. Make sure to research the safety and ratings of any item you are purchasing, and also check for recalls and updates. Of course, Time to Play is a great resource to use before you go to the toy store.
2. Assembly Required
Not every parent enjoys putting together toys or other items. I know in my home, we love it when we receive a gift that doesn’t have to be assembled. Before you buy a gift, check to see if it needs to be assembled, and if it does, gauge the assembly requirements. When in doubt, check with the parents or guardians to see if they don’t mind a gift that has to be put together.
Some toys may include nickel, plastic, or other items that a child may be allergic to. Use the RSVP card to contact the parents to ask if there is an allergy that you need to be aware of before going to the store or ordering online.
Does the birthday boy or girl have siblings? Are they significantly younger? If so, that should be something to consider before purchasing a gift, especially if it includes parts in which they can choke on or small pieces that aren’t safe for younger children.
Personally, I stay away from toys that are fads when purchasing gifts. I want the gift I buy to be something that the child will be able to use for a long time. With that in mind, considering longevity of the toy or item you purchase is smart and may make it easier for you to narrow down what to buy.
We all have different budgets for birthday gifts and extras. I know I don’t usually spend more than $35 for a birthday gift for my daughter’s friends or classmates because I think it’s important to set limits. I’ve even seen on birthday invites where the parent has set an amount limit for the gifts her child receives.
When in doubt (or just to make sure), contact the parent or the guardian to inquire before purchasing a gift. They can tell you best what toy or item their child may need or want, or even what they don’t want you to buy their child. You can utilize the RSVP number or email given on the invitation, and I think most parents appreciate being consulted first.
Birthday parties are so much fun for everyone, especially the kids. Making sure that you’ve done your due diligence before purchasing a gift for the birthday girl or boy will make all the difference.