Buying the perfect gift for your child is tough, right? One moment they’re into one particular thing and then before you know it they’re into something entirely different. As a parent of two kids, who are now 13 and 11, trust me I’ve been there and done it and I’ve got to say that when it comes to buying awesome children’s presents one of the first websites I visit for a bit of inspiration is Wicked Uncle. This website has literally saved me on so many occasions. I’ve always managed to get something a little bit different, and the gifts have gone down an absolute treat with my kids. From small and larger presents right through to fab little stocking filler gifts (at the risk of freaking you out, Christmas is just 4 months away!!) it has been my present buying saviour.
Now I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but this present buying malarky gets harder with each passing year. The 13-year-old mostly wants money, but let’s face it no matter what age you are, seeing a lone envelope on the table rather than a mountain of gift-wrapped presents is nowhere near as exciting. However, on the flip side, there’s nothing worse than buying a present for your kid that they don’t end up using. And as we all know, kids are blunt, like brutally blunt. If they don’t like something you are 100% going to know about it!
Over the years, I have fine tuned my gift buying process so that I’ve pretty much managed to avoid any awkward present opening moments, and I want to share my tips with you all so that you can avoid it too.
1) Check What Their Friends Are Into
I know we should be encouraging our children to be the beautifully unique humans that they are, but come on now let’s be realistic for a moment. Children are influenced by many things, but by far the most influential factor is their friends. If their friend has “an awesome doll that wees” or “this awesome robot building kit” you can bet your bottom dollar that your kid is gonna want it too!
Being a parent is kind of like being a private detective; you need to ask the right questions, interpret the answers, and do a fair bit of sneaking around. So, it’s time to don the investigative hat and make it your mission to find the perfect gift for your child and there are a couple of ways you can do this:
- Scan the room – If you child is of an age where you still need to be present at play dates, next time you go round their friend’s house do a mental stock take of the toys your child plays with the most.
- Interrogate – If you have a slightly older child, who can be dropped off for play dates without you needing to stay, make sure you quiz them on the way home about what they did, what they played with etc.
- Listen in – Yeah OK so I know it’s a little bit sneaky, but hey it’s all with the very best of intentions. If they chat with their mates on their phones…. listen in. If they have a mate round… listen in. If they chat with their mates online… yep you got it… listen in. The older they get, the less they talk to their parents (FACT) so if you want to figure out the perfect gift for your child it’s all about being smart.
2) Check Their YouTube/TikTok/Browser history
Again, totally sneaky, but seeing as these days we’re all supposed to be internet savvy parents and keep a check on what our kids are doing online anyway, I don’t really see a problem in using this to our advantage and using the intel for some present buying inspo.
When they’re in bed or at school, hop onto their devices and firstly check the accounts they follow. This will give you an indication of the type of things they like to watch and this will usually translate into products. I remember when my daughter was younger she was obsessed with some family on YouTube who got gifted all the latest toys and they would do big product reveals. She particularly loved it when they opened up blind bags, little themed bags with surprises in them, and would ask for them for every birthday and Christmas. It was a guaranteed success.
It’s also worth checking their browser history to see what they’ve been searching for. Chances are it’s going to bring up a whole heap of random searches, but you might get lucky and spot a few product websites in there too, in which case result, you’ve hit the jackpot!
3) Get Them To Make A List
Sometimes you just need to scrap the whole surprise element and simply ask them what it is they’d like. If they’re younger, be prepared for a list as long as your arm, if they’re older be grateful if you get one as long as your little fingernail, but at least you’ll have something to go on.
Certain online stores allow you to create wish lists, so get your kids to sit down and put one together, making sure younger children don’t accidentally ‘add to basket’. Explain to them that they should aim to add items from various price brackets so that you then send this list out to relatives too – grandparents find it even harder to buy things than us parents do.
Or keep it old school and ask them to write a list out by hand, making sure you take a photo of it in case it gets lost. And if they’re struggling for inspiration, get them to check out the Wicked Uncle website that I mentioned above. It breaks presents down into categories that are relevant for certain ages, or that are more suited to boys/girls, as well as the most popular products and to suit your budget, which makes the whole searching process a lot easier.
To avoid tears on the day, make it clear that they won’t get necessarily get everything from their list, especially if there are a crazy amount of items on there. It might be worth getting them to put their most lusted after items at the top to help you out when it comes to doing your present buying.
4) Keep A Record
We all know how often kids change their minds about things and sometimes there’s the worry that if you’re too organised and buy presents too far in advance, by the time it gets round to actually giving it to them, they no longer want or like the item you’ve bought them. Which is frustrating and disappointing for everyone involved. Make sure you check, and double check and then check again, with your child before buying anything from their list and always check the refund policy… just in case.
Whenever my kids used to write letters to Santa I would make sure I took photos of them holding their letters up. Now, obviously I did this because hello cute, but also because it was a sneaky way to get a copy of the letter before it got posted off so that the kids didn’t suspect anything. Not only is it helpful at the time, it’s also useful for any future present buying occasions. What they’re into may change, but some things may also still be relevant or they may have just forgotten about them, so keep a record of both Santa letters and past birthday lists to draw inspiration from before you start your present buying.
5) Know Your Kid
You know your child better than anybody and so the most important thing to consider when researching gifts for them is to think about the type of kid they are?
Do they like dressing up? Are they into arts and crafts? Perhaps they like role play? Or maybe they like all the latest gadgets, in which case I feel your pain as I have one of those and trust me it is costly! Whatever your kid is into you can almost guarantee that if you buy them something related to their passion they will absolutely love it.
Buying the perfect gift for your child needn’t be difficult. I guess the hardest thing is the fact that there are just so many incredible toys and products out there – our kids are literally spoilt for choice these days. The good news is, that now I’ve revealed some of the things I do to find the perfect gift, it’ll hopefully help you on your way to finding a present that your child will absolutely love too.