How to Make Toddler Gift Giving a Breeze

Use these tips to make your toddler gift giving simple and stress-free.

Before having a toddler of your very own, it’s likely that you didn’t attend many birthday parties for 1-, 2- and 3-year-olds. But more and more, parents of young children are celebrating with friends and family – and if your circle of toddler friends is large, the amount of gift giving can be overwhelming.

Don’t spend your time or test your sanity wandering aimlessly around Toy R Us or Target checking the age recommendations of hundreds of toys. Instead, use these five tips to make your toddler gift giving super simple and stress-free. 

Stay within a budget.


When kids are young, finding inexpensive, but cool toys or other gifts at reasonable prices is actually quite easy. Set a budget for toddler birthday gifts and stick with it. You can find more than enough gift options for toddlers between $10 and $25 — from clothing to toys to books to art supplies. While it will only narrow the field a bit, it will immediately cut out many options, and it will encourage you not to overspend. 

Give every toddler the same gift.

Want to quick and easy way to take all of the guess work out of what you’re going to give to the birthday girl or boy at the seventh (or 20th) toddler birthday party you’ve been invited to in the last three months? You can choose to give a signature gift, which will solve a lot of problems when it comes to giving toddlers birthday gifts.

How do you do this? It’s simple: You pick one gender-neutral gift and you give that to every child at every birthday party you attend. You can make it personal by choosing something like a name train; or you can pick a favorite toy like a Lego Duplo set, or for slightly older toddlers, their first board game. Candyland and Zingo are good choices.

Ask mom and dad what the child needs or wants.

In an age where almost anything is available at the click of a button, most young kids do not actually need to add to their massive toy collective. If they are the only grandchild, niece or nephew in the family, this problem can be even more pronounced. If this child is the second or third in the family, the toys have probably increased exponentially. Asking the parents allows them to tell you exactly what the child can use or what the child wants. 

Skip the big box stores and choose local boutiques instead.

If the usual big box stores send you into a panic, you're not alone. Having too many options can actually make choosing something much, much harder. Particularly for the novice gift giver, a local toy store or boutique toy store with less options will help you breath easier. And there are lots bonuses: You can support a small business; you'll likely work with a clerk who will have plenty of recommendations and will be happy to steer you in the right direction; and the toys are often of a higher quality.

Get them pajamas.

Stand out from the party crowd with a gift of pajamas instead of another toy that will likely be broken and/or forgotten about in a few days. Why are pajamas a good choice? First of all, even if the parents are particular about clothing, they probably won't be too concerned about pajamas that aren't exactly their taste. Second, at this age, sizing is relatively easy. You can buy 18-month pajamas for a 1-year-old; buy 2Ts for a 2-year-old. If they can’t wear them to bed immediately post-party, that’s OK. They’ll grow into them, but include the gift receipt just in case.

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