Gift buying – the ‘preteen’ guide
First things first. You’re going to have to make your peace with one little detail that most people don’t care to acknowledge when it comes to gift-buying for preteen sons or daughters. They’re not little children any more. The style of gift they’re likely to enjoy is going to take a little more thought, a little more attention, and a little more care.
Start by exploring toys for 12 year olds. You may find something you think will catch their eye and make them smile. Next, there’s a couple of things you need to consider…
Pay attention to their interests
You and your child are different people. You are not the same. The things you love aren’t going to be the things they love, and you need to accept that the things they love are sometimes going to feel alien to you. Maybe your child is desperate to learn the guitar or drums, and you haven’t got a musical bone in your body. Maybe they want access to video editing or photo editing software to explore their love of technology and art – this can be difficult to sort out for them (or help them with if they get stuck) if you’re the kind of person who isn’t necessarily a technophobe but would certainly admit to needing help when setting up a new phone, for example.
Try as you might to encourage your child to explore an interest in something that you hold dear, they just aren’t very likely to take the baton and carry on where you left off, the exact same way that you probably broke free from your parents’ interests to explore the things that held your attention. Speak to your preteen. Find out what they like and do your research. Being someone important in their life isn’t a given right – you must attempt to interact with them on their level (even if it does mean purchasing a couple of gaming chairs and learning how to play the latest smash hit video game with them!).
They’re old enough to realise that your time is a gift
Little children want balloons and wrapping paper and lots and lots of boxes to open. They don’t even care too much what’s actually inside the boxes. They just want to open gift after gift. If what comes out of the boxes are colourful toys that make loud noises, all the better. But their attention is only held until the next wrapped up toy is put in front of them. Older children and preteens require a little more effort…
…if you’re worried that you won’t find a gift that they’ll enjoy, you could always take them somewhere special. Museums, art galleries, air shows, musicals, live performances of all kinds, sporting events, or even just a trip out into nature to do something they’ve always wanted to do like climb a mountain or go fishing. These are all things that a pre-teen can start to appreciate much more so than a much younger child would have the capacity to comprehend.