Have the Kids Do the Shopping: Teaching Thoughtfulness

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My cousin has three lovely children. I mean they are lovely for most of the time, but definitely not cute enough when Christmas comes and they receive their gifts – which is one of the reasons I don’t really want to visit her house during the festival season. They can be truly annoying.



My poor cousin searches every corner of every shop in the street at this time each year, just for giving her little ones a joy-filled Christmas. However, it seems that things do not always go as she wishes. Usually her gifts can satisfy only one, if not none, of her children.


This year, however, after reading some books about children’s thoughtfulness cultivation, an idea came to her: why not have the kids select gifts for each other?


Once decided, she started to make the budget for each child, and went shopping with them separately. Each kid selected and purchased the most special gifts for their siblings; the gifts have been packed beautifully and are now under the Christmas tree waiting to be uncovered.



What impressed me the most was her face when telling me about her shopping experiences with each kid. “They can find just the PERFECT gift for everyone! You cannot believe that! They are always more generous and thoughtful than I expect, and all I needed to do was watching them purchasing the gifts with that big smile. The oldest one could even do the math!”


The whole thing went, according to her, perfectly with just the right budget she set for my nephews and niece, although the youngest was only 5.


When I asked her for suggestions on my post about this, she gave me some really useful tips.



First things first, the budget you give each child should be the same, like $50 each.


Have your kids sit together and listen to your instructions. You need to tell them clearly that each one has, let’s say, $50 in total, and they need to buy each of their siblings a gift using the $50. No breaking the limit is allowed, which means if they would like one gift but it’s too expensive, they have to give it up. Make sure every kid has understood, and tell them that you will be with them when they do the shopping.


Give them a little advice like “think about what your sis likes to eat” or “do you know what her favorite toy is?” but don’t interfere them too much. Let them think on their own.

I asked my cousin whether she had something to say to my readers, and here are her words: “The strategy has the added bonus of teaching about budgeting, giving, and combining efforts for a greater impact, so don’t hesitate to give a try!”

1 Answer

These messages are for mutual support and information sharing only. Always consult your doctor before trying anything you read here.
I'm thinking next year I'll just give each of my kids 30 bucks and let them buy whatever they want.
Good idea.