Christmas is a great time to talk to children about budgeting, spending, and the importance of value for money. Involving children in planning for and buying gifts for a friend or family member provides a meaningful way to engage them with learning about money and its value and the following tips will help you make the most of the learning potential of the holiday.
Planning for giving
- Allocate your child one person to shop for this Christmas, this could be a friend, sibling, parent or extended family member, but ideally it is someone your child knows well.
- Discuss with your child the importance of giving thoughtfully, really thinking about what that person likes, their hobbies, how they like to spend their time.
- Together, make a list of potential gift ideas. At this stage don’t hinder your child with a price limit, this exercise is about them thinking about the person and what types of gifts they might like.
- Talk together about how a present doesn’t just have to be purchased from a shop or store, is there something handmade that this person might like? Add any suggestions to your list.
- Alternatively, what about experiences that the person might like, instead of a physical gift? Add any suggestions to your list.
Now it is time to begin narrowing down the potential choice of present. Again, depending upon the age of the child, you might like to;
- Have them sort the list into order of what they think the person would most like through to what they would least like or choose what they think are the top 5 ideas.
- Talk with your child about what the budget is for this gift choice. Look again at the list and together eliminate any which are obviously too expensive.
- Older children might like to research the prices of items on their list on the internet. This is a great way for them to compare products and prices to determine which is the best value for money.
- If you are thinking about making the gift, talk about what you will need to buy to make it. Is there enough money in the budget?
Shopping for that special gift
Once you have a gift shortlist, it is time to take your child shopping. You might like to;
- Look first in some local store catalogues to see if any stores have the item/s on special, again this is a great way for children to learn to compare products and prices in order to make the best choice.
- Give your child responsibility for looking after the money for this gift as you shop.
- Allow your child to pay for the item at the checkout.
- Assist your child to wrap the gift themselves.