Here we are, just ten days away from Christmas. Many of you may be looking for some gift ideas. To support the philosophy of The Affluent Student, I’ve put together this two-part post to provide you with some gift-giving ideas. In our last post we talked about some ideas for your younger students, and today we’ll look at our teens and adolescents.
Your middle school student is always a tough one. They will be using more technology, be involved in more activities, and building their social circle as they head into their teens. Most likely the question you’re really trying to answer is whether to treat them as children or as young adults. Use their developmental maturity as a guide. Some ideas will remain at each stage, like age-appropriate books. They might love an e-reader like a Kindle or Nook at this age, or you might go all out and get them a desktop or laptop computer. If you open up internet access to them, make sure you’ve setup all of the safety boundaries as discussed here. It’s my opinion they don’t really need a cell phone at this age, but again that’s an individual decision based on activity and maturity level. Board games will give them a chance for face-to-face interactions with their friends and families in a relaxed, fun, competitive atmosphere. You could buy them a magazine subscription based on their interests, or a trip to a summer camp or some supplies and accessories based on their interests.
In high school, you can begin to gift your child much like you would an adult. They love to make their own decisions so you can give them gift cards to their favorite stores. This will also give them an opportunity to manage the money through those types of decisions, and it creates teachable moments for you as well. It also lets them begin to see how much things like clothes, shoes, food, and other items cost so that they have a new appreciation on how much life costs. Books remain a big deal because leaders and successful people tend to read throughout their lifetime. A devotional, new Bible, and business and self-help books would be terrific – how many of those books have you read and wished that you would have known when you were a kid? By now they would love a cell phone if they don’t have one, and the closer they get to college the more they will need a laptop computer to go with them.
I believe that gift giving for The Affluent Student can support their educational efforts and still be fun and thoughtful. These gift ideas show your commitment to their development, growth, and success throughout life, most of them have little to do with technology, and they give you as parents numerous opportunities to strengthen your relationship with them. I do think that it is important to keep control over the gift giving to set and manage expectations properly as your child enters adulthood. And finally, remember that Christmas is all about giving – now is the time to teach that to your child.