Your child just received a gift card (or cash) as a gift. Do you:
A. Take the card/ cash and spend it on toilet paper, nose drops, that DVD you've been wanting, or a birthday present for another child.I think it can be a real treat for kids to pick out their own gifts in a store. But the truth is, my kids already have SO many toys (it's embarrassing really) that I am pretty picky about what gets added to the collection. But I have found an excellent middle ground that is better, in my opinion, than any of the above options.
B. Let your child pick out whatever he or she wants.
C. Purchase for your child the toy you would want him or her to pick (a puzzle, board game or Legos, not the latest collectible plastic figurine).
This is what I do when someone gives my kid a gift card to Target. I take the gift card, and spend it on whatever I normally buy at Target. Then I go online to Etsy, or a favorite eco-friendly kids' store like Heirloom Wooden Toys, MightyNest, or Rosie Hippo, pick out 5 or 10 items in the correct price range, and then let my child select one of those. My kids get the thrill of picking out a toy (and believe me, they are thrilled), and I get the joy of having the new toy be a product I am happy to have in my home.
If we had an awesome brick-and-mortar toy store near us, I would consider taking my kids shopping there instead, but the closest one is 45 minutes away. In addition, for my young children, I think a whole store full of options can be overwhelming.
My previous method was arguing with my children about what they should buy or what I would allow them to buy. That method seemed pretty coercive and not entirely pleasant. Now I get to be controlling without my children feeling deprived! Since I have adopted this new method of letting my children pick a toy pre-screened by mom, I am much more excited when my kids receive a gift card.
It should be noted that my oldest is 5yo. I probably won't be able to get away with this forever.
How do you deal with gift cards your kids receive?
Photo credit: bfishadow