Welcome to the hustle and bustle known as the holiday shopping season! As a parent of an older child or preteen, you’re probably having a bit of understandable annual anxiety. What should you buy a kid whose tastes, moods, and needs are changing faster than her shoe size?
Figuring out what to wrap for a late elementary or middle school age youngster doesn’t have to be hard. Make life easier on yourself by choosing presents from five winning categories.
Generation Z may be known as tech natives, but the tech they use isn’t necessarily their own. Take cell phones, for instance. Many children only have experience dabbling on their parents’ phones. But they’d love the chance for a smartphone of their own. That’s probably why around 40% of all children get phones between the fifth and eighth grades according to research from Gabb Wireless.
You don’t have to give away complete control when gifting a device, though. Providers like Gabb offer cell phones designed without access to social media or the Internet. Likewise, parental software protection companies make easy-to-use products to safeguard tablets and laptops. Of course, you’ll want to make sure your child is responsible and mature enough to have personal digital items. That way, you can feel even better about the decision.
What’s one of the first questions any kid hears from adults? “What do you want to be when you grow up?” During their youngest years, your children will probably move through many different occupational interests. However, between about ages 10 through 14, they may show a penchant for a particular subject, like engineering, drawing, or coding.
Though you don’t want to push your child in one specific direction, you want to show encouragement. You can do that through some of your holiday gifts. For example, think about giving an astronomy enthusiast a pair of augmented reality goggles to study the stars. Or surprise your imaginative poet with colorful cards to inspire wordplay and language choice. Again, the point is to stir up talents and ideas. Who knows? You could launch the success of your kiddo just by hitting the “buy” button!
Does your preteen’s room look a little dated? Is it still filled with a toddler’s dresser drawer? Have you forgotten to upgrade the window dressings or throw rugs? Rather than waiting to do this during a “spring cleaning” period, talk with your child about a fun DIY project today. For instance, you may want to ask your child to think about a specific room theme or color.
This allows your child to feel more at home in his or her bedroom. It also gives you a chance to promote some self-expression in the form of interior design. Don’t be surprised if you learn something about your kid’s likes and dislikes in the process. From what you find out, you can begin to buy some special presents that will go along with the room redo. Use your budget as a guide, and be sure to consult with your child (even if it’s just with hints) along the way.
Are your children still trying to make music on instruments better suited for younger hands? Refresh your home-based music library with some honest-to-goodness instruments. You’ll not only be giving your child a chance to explore the world of rhythm and song. You could also be helping your preteen develop better problem-solving capabilities. As findings from Guitar Center show, 85% of moms and dads whose kids learn an instrument show improved decision-making skills.
To be sure, the musical instrument you pick will depend upon a lot of factors, including price and your child’s preference. Some good selections can be the ukulele or a guitar. If you don’t mind a little noise, percussion instruments are always a hit—literally and figuratively! Even a modest keyboard can provide a path toward appreciating everything that goes into making tunes.
Although you might think that only adults enjoy vacations as end-of-year gifts, traveling can be entertaining and enjoyable for kids, too. Many young people have so-called “itchy feet” after spending nearly two years dealing with online learning and lockdowns. Consequently, you may want to talk with your older child about taking a special (and safe) trip for the holidays.
There’s just one caveat: Memories tend to be all grown-ups need, but preteens like to have a little something tangible. Be certain that you set aside money to spend on mementos during your jet-setting. If your getaway is scheduled to take place after the actual holiday, buy something in preparation like clothing, jewelry, or accessories.
It’s time to celebrate again now that the world is reawakening from the shake-ups that started in 2020. Instead of just buying whatever you see, give some thought to the toys, trinkets, and treasures you give your kids. The more care you put into your planning, the higher the chance that your gifts will position you as the coolest mom or dad on the block.