Why Gift Giving Can Be Good for Kids

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Giving and receiving gifts can be important life lessons for children. Life as MOM contributor Prerna explains how.

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It’s the holiday season and there’s a lot of shopping happening. However, I hear a lot these days about teaching kids to be frugal by restricting the number of gifts they get or by cutting out gifts altogether and while I’m sure that parents must have their reasons for doing so, I really believe there is a lot of goodness in gift giving.

Here’s why:

Gift Giving Teaches Kids About Generosity

My toddler loves to give gifts. Seriously. She gets really hurt when I don’t let her “present” the present and I feel that birthdays, anniversaries and other occasions when she gets to give gifts are great opportunities to teach her about being generous and sharing. She learns to give graciously to friends and family and takes joy in their happiness.

Gift-Giving Teaches Children About Thoughtfulness

When buying or even, making gifts for others, you can ask children for options that would be best suited for aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins. Personalizing a gift by wrapping in kiddie artwork or writing a message inside a book for a cousin are just small touches that go a long way in teaching even, young children about thoughtfulness.

Choosing Gifts Shows Kids the Value of Money

When buying presents either for your own kids or for others, involve them in the shopping process. It is a fantastic and fun way to teach children about the value of money. While this may not be possible when planning a surprise gift, you can easily do it when kids give you a list of presents they’d like. You can browse online stores, scout for deals and show them how to basically shop around for deals and discounts so that you get the maximum bang for your buck.

Receiving Presents Encourages Gratitude

Most importantly, gift giving and getting is a simple but effective way to teach young children about gratitude, about appreciating what they receive and about being thankful. Children learn to express thanks for all gifts, big or small. They learn to appreciate the thought behind the gift.

However, at the end of the day, it is up to you, the parent, to teach them how to turn gift-giving and receiving into an opportunity to learn essential values and life skills.

What do you think gift giving and receiving can teach kids?

Prerna Malik posing for the camera.— Prerna Malik is a mom, a wife, a writer and woman who believes in parenting with love, being postively productive, and creating a home that invites you to put your feet up and relax. Find her sharing her simple tips and easy-to-do ideas at The Mom Writes or follow her on Twitter.

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  1. I grew up in a family where gifts are their love language. It is not mine and this year when I was overwhelmed with the shopping I just had to look at my 5 year old who was so excited about giving the gifts he made/bought to family members at Christmas time that he couldn’t contain himself and would run into his room and whisper the “christmas secrets” to his stuffed animals so he wouldn’t ruin the surprise. It was priceless on Christmas to see him give out the gifts. He also had a very grateful heart towards his gifts this year because he knew what joy went into picking out the gifts he got.

  2. This article is good timing. I was just thinking about some of the blogs that I’ve read recently and it often feels like the writer has to defend the present thing as if they are taking away from the real meaning of Christmas. Every family is different but we love gift giving. We scrimp and save all year but when it’s Christmas, I do go a little overboard. We love to give gifts and homeade stuff goes a long way. We went to have tea with Mrs Claus last week and my 5 year old son made her an ornament out of stuff he found around the house. He gave it to her and she hung it up in the restaurant. He just had the biggest smile! Talk about building memories!

    Don’t get me wrong, he is all about the receiving too! But I think it gives us a good opportunity to teach him how to receive gifts with grace. (Even the socks and underwear.)

    1. What a wonderful memory! That’s great.

      I hear ya, it’s hard to find the balance. And each family really does do it differently. We rarely buy toys and “stuff” for our kids, but Christmas is one of those special times when we do.

    2. Hi Elias, thank you for sharing and that is such a lovely experience. And yes, receiving gifts is a wonderful way to learn grace and acceptance as well.

  3. I so agree. From the time they were preschoolers, I’ve had my 5 children in the mindset of giving at Christmas and on others’ birthdays. For the little ones who are too young for their own spending money, I help them make simple crafts they can give to grandparents and siblings, and sometimes take them to a dollar store to pick out something new to give. Once they are school age and earning money, they buy small gifts. My oldest is now 13, and she amazes us with her generosity and thoughtfulness. I’d like to think it’s all due to my training (ha!) but in part it’s just how she’s wired. She enjoyed saving her money for Black Friday deals and seeing what nice gifts she could get for her family at great discounts.
    As much as they enjoy getting new things, my children really are learning the joy of giving as well.

    1. Hi Michelle, wow! I am inspired even more by your 13YO. I hope my preschooler grows up to be just a little like her. Since she is an only child, I feel the need to “use” gifts and occasions as an opportunity to teach her to share and think of others, more strongly than most. But am glad to hear that I’m on the right path. 🙂

  4. Thanks for the ice cube idea! Will definitely be using this one. My son gets very upset when he can’t “help mommy”, and this would be a great way for him to pitch in.

  5. Great viewpoint! Sometimes I get so annoyed with the consumerism and commercialism around this time that I forget the benefits of gift-giving. Thanks for the reminder! 🙂

  6. I completely agree. We only have two kids so we make sure they get a present for each other and each of us. Next year we’ll probably expand that to grandparents. I’ve seen a lot of parents comment on blogs that they don’t exchange presents among the adults in the family. I understand why and my husband and I hadn’t bought each other gifts for years but last year we realized we needed to start that up again. Even if it’s just something small I think the kids need to understand that Christmas isn’t all about them.

    Now a much larger family I can see how this would be difficult. Our entire extended family is only 12 people (including the 4 of us) so it’s not a excessive to give to almost everyone.

    1. I think those are great points. And a great reminder for me to take the boy who wants to buy gifts out shopping today. Thank you!