Many articles suggest you should ask relatives, especially grandparents, to give money to your children’s RESPs instead of give toys or books. Personally, I’m not convinced. Most children would prefer a
tangible gift that they could play with immediately to an intangible promise on a piece of paper. And many grandparents want to see the big smiles and watch the fun begin.
However, sometimes a gift can be something to play with today and also something to help a child save for the future.
Gifts that Will Help a Child’s Financial Future
Most of us hope our children will grow up and move out at some time in the misty years ahead. I can still remember when I moved out to attend university. That was when I realized how little I owned.
I didn’t have a desk, a lamp, a bed, a chair, or a chest of drawers. I also didn’t have a spoon, a fork, a knife, a can opener, a plate or a bowl. In fact, the list of what I didn’t have was endless.
Chances are good your relatives won’t be interested in giving your children desks to be saved for when they leave home. (Although if they are interested, go for it!) However, if the children are young, your relatives may want to give gifts that combine play value with practical long term value.
Just Like the Real Thing, because It IS the Real Thing
Instead of plastic toy measuring cups and spoons, why not encourage relatives to give the real thing? A child age 3 or older is safe playing with good quality metal measuring cups and measuring spoons. They can use them for pretend play and for real cooking fun with their parents and relatives. And the children can keep them and take them with when they launch one day. To make the gift more interesting include a bag of chocolate chips or rice or the ingredients for cookies to play with.
Once children are past the age of poking each other in the eye and sticking things in electrical sockets, real tools also become a great gift. Hammers, screwdrivers, pliers and other basic hand tools make great toys especially when combined with a project to assemble such as a bird feeder. Again, the tools can be kept for when the children are trying to assemble their own furniture or hang their pictures in their future apartment.
Give to Children Today to Save Tomorrow
Gifts like these will save your child (or you) money in the future. Everything that is bought and kept is one less thing that will be needed in the future. And hey, if the quality of purchased goods continues to deteriorate items bought today will be better quality than what will be available in the future. (I’m still using the hair dryer my grandparents gave me as a teen.) Win win!
Gifts that are Investments in the Future
Examples of gifts to consider include:
For any age
- baking sheets
- mixing bowls
- measuring cups and spoons
- cutting boards
For the old enough to know better crowd
- rolling pins
- small gardening tools, such as trowels and hand rakes
For tweens and teens
- electric mixers
- popcorn makers
- sewing machines
- soldering irons
- tea pots and mugs
- good kitchen knives and scissors
- pizza cutters
- funky floor lamps
Have you had to help equip someone starting up their first home? What did you have to get? Could it have been stockpiled easily years before until needed? Please share your experiences with a comment.