Love the gifts kids give you

Lola and friend (see the face?) at her 14th birthday pizza party.

This blog post is by Nicola Baird sharing ideas about thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children. This post asks you to think about how you receive the gifts your children give you. For more info about my book Homemade Kids, with lots of ideas about parenting click here.

It is better to give than receive. True or false? On the bangle and necklace stall at the school summer fair (between downpours) a little boy (possibly year 2) picked out a bangle, bought it for 5p, and handed it as a gift to his mum. “That’s so nice” she said giving him a kiss and putting it straight on to her arm where it clunked merrily beside considerably nicer bangles.

What a sweetie the pair were – he for picking it out, and she for loving it.

Just recently several dads have admitted in conversation to doing things that made me shudder for their dad-child bond. Of course they haven’t really done anything that bad, just not played fair or failed to like something their child choose for them.

Q: In the same situation, what would you hope to do?
GAMES: Say you taught your child to play chess (or tennis, or squash) and they love it. And they are good. Then they beat you (aged six, or some other equally precocious age). Would you have a tantrum? Or be happy to know you’d passed on a skill fabulously?

BOOKS: Say it’s Christmas  and your teenager (who you’ve nagged all year to read more and study harder) has picked out a book for you. It’s one he’s read at school and, against the odds, really enjoyed. It’s also a classic (eg, War of the Worlds or 1984) and you just hate that type of oldie-worldie sci-fi genre. Would you read it? Or just stick it in a drawer and try to forget it?

Reverse situation
I’m guilty of loving my kids’ presents -though perhaps not as instantly and uncritically as the mum at the fair. But I have had trouble with one particular gift my mum made me two Christmases ago. I know it took her hours of work adapting a cardi from a charity shop with braid and trendy buttons in a piece of creative upcycling. On paper I should adore this item. The problem is that the jumper is grey, a colour I never wear as I think it’s aging and depressing especially if you live in a city with grey skies, pavements and buildings. Since then I have worn the jumper, but not nearly as much as I would if it was just in a different colour. I can’t tell you how guilty I feel for this reluctance. (Nothing obviously a therapist couldn’t sort out, ha ha).

Clearly I’m in no position to judge anyone. But here’s a tip – if you can adore the gifts your children give you, it’s lovely for them. After all, most of us want our parents to be proud of us, whatever great age we reach. See this post for some foodie gift ideas that you are sure to always enjoy receiving.

Over to you
Have you ever made a mistake giving or receiving?

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13 Comments on “Love the gifts kids give you”

  1. nicola baird Says:

    From Facebook:
    Howard “The door of my bedroom is adorned with home made gifts from my kids – makes me smile each time I walk through…”

    Carole Z “Teach em to cook and sew things”

  2. I think we should always be delighted by the gifts our children give us, even if it’s something we would never choose for ourselves, we should just be happy that they were thoughtful enough to give us something! It obviously also sets a good example by teaching them about gratitude.

    A word of caution though if others are around – my partner really doesn’t like chocolate orange, but once when his daughter was quite young, she gave him a chocolate orange at Christmas in front of family. In order to please her, he made such a big thing of how thrilled he was and how much he loves chocolate orange, that the rest of the family have been buying him chocolate orange at every occasion ever since!

    • nicola baird Says:

      Vanessa, Your chocolate orange story is funny! I hope you at least get the benefit of mass chocolate orange giving, if not send it my way. I adore them (or at least I used to, I wonder if they might taste a bit sweet now?).

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  4. theremakery Says:

    At the risk of being cringe-worthy, I absolutely adore the presents my three boys make for me. My eldest son (15) now buys gifts for me which are very thoughtful but his egg cup painted flowers from 10 years ago are still my fave!

  5. Moments and Milestones Photography Says:

    I loved this! My two year old picks dandelions for me and my heart melts.

  6. […] case in point : I read a while ago a blog, that spoke about appreciating the gifts that our children give us. Now, I know I agree with this. […]

  7. Dear homemadekids,
    This post got me thinking and inspired me to write something on the subject. Maybe you will want to have a look too.
    Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

    • homemadekids Says:

      Loved your blog, very thoughtful. I know about the Tiger Mum and the birthday card incident. She’s tough that lady. There are plenty of times to teach our children lessons about giving – perhaps not all those moments are the right time. Nicola

  8. Really nice and thoughtful post. I think most parents are thrilled when their little ones give them a gift – if thought and effort has gone in to it then it doesn’t matter what it is. 🙂

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