If you have a large extended family with lots of children, you might feel as though you’re constantly struggling to buy gifts. The older kids get, the fussier they seem to be – its your niece’s ninth birthday next month, and last week she liked horses, but now she likes science! You can’t possibly keep up and it can all feel a bit overwhelming. So, how can you pick a gift for a 9-year-old?
Children are brought up with all kinds of stereotypes: girls like pink and boys like blue, girls like dolls and boys like trucks, girls stay clean and boys get messy. But this isn’t healthy, and you should try to avoid encouraging these stereotypes: if you choose a gift entirely based on their gender then you’re enhancing the idea that their gender defines them. But don’t worry, there’s a wide variety of toys that are suitable for 9 year old girls and boys, and being open to the possibility of gender stereotypes whilst you shop puts you in a good position.
Research their interests
Now that you’re not stereotyping, you might wonder how on earth you’ll find something for your 9-year-old relative alongside all these other birthdays. But it’s simple: you just need to research their interests. For example, after finding out your 9-year-old niece is into science, you could buy her a potion making kit, a microscope or a slime lab. So, how do you do this research? Asking their parents or other relatives is a good start. If you feel awkward doing this, you could also check out their parents’ social media accounts to see if they’ve shared anything relevant. The key to buying a good gift for a child is understanding what their interests are and getting them something that matches.
Spend time with them
Another key way to research is by spending time with your 9-year-old relative. If the gift is for your niece or nephew who lives nearby, you may already spend a lot of time at their house with their parents. So, when you next visit, try to engage with the 9-year-old and ask about their interests. Differently, if you don’t go around that often, why not offer to babysit or take them on a day-trip? By spending time with the child, you’ll develop a strong bond and feel much more confident buying gifts in the future. You’ll enjoy yourself too, because kids are great!
Shape their interests
While you’re bonding with your 9-year-old relative and taking them out and about, you’re probably having a significant influence on them – even if you don’t know it. Kids respect people older than them, especially fun aunts, uncles and cousins who get to know them and treat them to fun activities. So, if you don’t want to get them another generic gift that could be bought by anyone, why not shape their interests and get them something accordingly? For example, if you take them on a few camping trips, you could buy them some fun camping toys or gadgets for your next adventure. This will make your gift feel extra special and they’ll love you for it.