Gifts for Siblings at Birthdays?

Archived Q&A and Reviews



Get a present for 3-year-old for sibling's 1st birthday party?

Jan 2011

We have two kids, a little girl who'll be 3 in a few months and a boy who'll be 1 in a few weeks. We've been trying to have a less is more approach to toys and gifts. But, I'm not sure how my daughter will react to my son's birthday party. It's a small, no present event, but I'm sure even though we ask people not to bring presents, someone will. My question is, should I get something small for my daughter so she doesn't feel left out? I'd rather not... But I also don't want a major meltdown. Anyone have a similar situation that can offer advice?

I would absolutely not get the sibling a present. Kids need to learn the lesson ''it's not all about you.'' Anon

Sometimes at that age, not only do siblings want in on the action - the guests do, too. My solution was to prepare the birthday boy/girl in advance and extol the virtues of sharing and being polite. For example, there's bound to be a guest who will want the main cake decoration or to play with a toy first. I told my children that should this happen, they should politely allow the child to have the decoration or play with the toy - their party was not the time or the place to educate someone else's child. Unfortunately, often the parent is not paying attention or doesn't mind this type of behavior, so it's up to you, the host, to ensure that a temper tantrum doesn't ensue. Hopefully, you can talk up your son's party to your daughter but in the worse case scenario, at age 1 your son is not likely to mind too much if she opens his present - will he? We also never opened gifts at the party. Gizella

My advice would be what you do this birthday will set the precedent. You say you don't want to, so don't. if she has a big meltdown, let her have it, love her all you need to through it, but don't give in. These are your morals and values and the sooner you decide to stick to them, the easier everyone's life will be in your family. trust me, buy her something this year and when junior turns 2 she'll expect it and it would only be harder to deal with then. You are the parent, you set the rules, and it's her job to adjust. And as your babies get older, this practice will serve you well, when they start to ''reason'' with their teen logic, you'll have it in the bag!

The only other idea i have is to DO something special with her. A sort of ''big sister'' treat, and stick to your less is more approach. a simple walk out the door but she decided which direction you go. Only she's old enough for that, work that part up. Celebrate her but in a nonsuperficial way. Or even take her out for ice cream or something. This doesn't have to be thought of as making up for jr getting presents, simply to tell her you appreciate her part in the family. Then at her next birthday do the same for your son! Everyone can remember that you all work at being a family and have a wonderful part!

(p.s. those 'no presents please'' birthdays? they just don't work. Our society is too set in their traditions. the only way I've ever heard of making that happen is to give an alternative. Please donate to the sfzoo in his name, etc. Try it next time) alison

Three is not too young to understand that one day of the year is someone else's special day and her brother will be getting presents and you won't. You are setting yourself up for a major pattern of giving in because it's easier if you go down this route. Explain in advance to her what to expect, and that the consequences will be spending the birthday party in her room in a time-out if she cannot be the ''big sister''. If you give her a job to ''help'' with the party, that would allow her to be involved but not receiving a present for no reason. veteran mom