The Grandparents Guide to Giving

The Grandparents Guide to Giving

Something happens to grandparents and their wallets when grandbabies come along. Their hearts are somehow more enlarged than when they were parents and their ideas about rules and strict bedtime procedures go out the window. All the sudden, it’s okay to spoil a child. Needless to say, it is part mystery and part insanity to see how grandparents begin to see gifts and other material tokens as fit contributions for a child who just happens to be their grandchild. The child does not have to do anything noteworthy, win any awards, save any lives, rescue any dogs from a pet shelter, or sing/play an instrument/write/make artistic projects, etc in order to find themselves the benefactor of an award from a grandparent. All a grandchild has to do is BE. Following is a gift-giving guide for grandparents. Adhering to the advice below will spare headaches, prevent hurt feelings, avoid rejection of gifts, prevent blowing of budgets and more.

Extravagant vs Moderate

When Sean P. Combs’s son, Justin Dior, turned 16 – P. Diddy (another name Sean goes by) bought him a high-end Maybach, which is a super luxurious Mercedes-Benz. The vehicle comes at a price point of almost $400,000. It’s not hard to imagine what P. Diddy might do when he becomes a grandfather. If he follows the trend of many grandparents, he will do more for his grandchildren than he did for his children. But not every grandparent is as well-heeled as Combs. Still, grandparents who don’t have deep pockets often find ways to be extravagant in their gift-giving to their grandchildren.

Some ways that grandparents can help their grandchildren is to pick up the tabs on something that the parents don’t think of doing or are not in a position to do. One lady named Vickie shared how her grandmother bought term life insurance policies for all of her grandchildren. As Vickie explained it, this grandmother gave modest and infrequent gifts otherwise, and only for birthday gifts and Christmas presents. Yet, when each of them turned 18, she presented them with their insurance policies, which had come to term. They could take out the cash value of their policies and use them for savings, college tuition, and wedding costs or to set up housekeeping. As Vickie explained it, “It was the best gift – helping us to launch into adulthood.” She spent hers on a wedding that she couldn’t have otherwise afforded, since she was only 18 and just out of high school. Another sister used hers to become owner of a local laundromat. Still another started a savings account.

This type of gift is extravagant in terms of its ultimate value. Yet, it was moderate in terms of the monthly premium cost. Because such a policy increased in value, the dividends put it in a whole different asset value. A life insurance policy can be an excellent delayed gratification gift.

When it comes to moderate, some grandparents have learned how to give the gift of their time. For example, taking the child out to dinner or lunch, along with a special friend. Another example might be taking them to the park and having a picnic for their birthday. A grandparent can do this, even if the child(ren) is having another party.

On the moderate end, grandparents can even pay some of the expense for a birthday party, such as buying a themed cake, footing the bill for a clown or balloon artist, paying for themed decorations or party favors, etc. Some kids love the party done big and will love showing off the party favors and entertainment that a grandparent made possible. This is simply a process of adding to what the mother and father already intend to do. Gift-giving etiquette dictates checking with the parents first to see if they are okay with the idea of the grandparent making possible a more enjoyable party. While the party eventually ends, the memories will be endless. What will make it possible for the child to appreciate what their grandparent(s) contributed toward the party is to have the parents announce your contribution in a manner such as, “Honey, did you know that grandpa paid for the magician at your party. Isn’t that great?” Both the children and grandchildren will think so.

Getting to Know Them

The song “Getting to Know You” should be on grandparent’s minds when they give gifts. During special times with grandchildren, grandparents should strive to find out what the child(ren) like to do, what their interest are, what hobbies enable them to get more enjoyment out of life. When grandparents know that one grandchild loves to read and carries armloads of books home from the library on a regular basis, they probably won’t go wrong buying them a book or giving them a gift-card to a bookstore. On the pricey side might be a book from Barnes and Nobles. On the moderate side might be a book from Half-Price Books. Both stores also sell gift cards.

A grandparent can also find out if there are any local children book authors visiting the area close to the particular grandchild’s birthday. They can snag an autographed book if they go to the event. Knowing that a book was signed by the actual author might be a pleasing experience for a grandchild. Opening the gift and finding the book is the gift and seeing a special note addressed to them by the author is the added value for such a gift.

At the same time, a grandparent might discover that a grandchild loves something else and would not like receiving a book. The grandparent has to do some snooping around and careful questioning and observing in order to know what would be an excellent gift for a grandchild.

Some grandparents have found value in taking a grandchild window shopping in toy stores. They tell them that they are not buying anything, and make mental notes on things that make their eyes light up as they hold it in hand.

One grandmother gives her grandchildren a $5 and takes them to dollar store. When the children are young, being able to get a bubble and wand, a pair of jacks, a coloring book and a paddle ball makes them feel like they have won the Lotto. Once children get older, this might not work, or the amount might need to be increased.

The right child might really love a collectible. An action figure might really send them into the stratosphere of happiness. There are plenty of white action figures out there. There are also black action figures like the Green Lantern; as well as black-themed toys from companies like Itty Bitty Bees. There is even a President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama action figure.

If somehow, it’s hard to figure out what the child really likes to do. When that’s the case, grandparents need to talk to the parents about what might the child like to receive as a gift or what interests them during that phase of their childhood.

So That Values Don’t Collide

The way things work today, children may grow up under a set of values and then marry and sometimes change their value system. They may come up with a hybrid mix of what they came to the marriage with and what their spouses brought. They may go a whole different direction. One of the best things a grandparent to do to keep from clashing with the values their grandchildren are being reared under is to ask and to seek to understand. Once that insight is available, a grandparent should purchase toys that don’t offend the values of the household.

Keeping the Score Even

Children keep score, including grandchildren. For this reason it’s important that grandparents not spend more or do more for certain grandchildren. The temptation to do this often comes up when some grandchildren are local and others are not. In such an instance, grandparents might spend more on the grandchildren that they see more often.

Grands can spare the family a lot of hurt feelings. If the grandchildren compare, and many times they do, some grandchildren can end up feeling slighted.


A grandchild can be as still as a marble statue, doing nothing, giving nothing, helping no one – and still get lots of loot from their grandparents. Grandparents need to be aware that they are under a spell when it comes to their grandchildren. However, with bills, looming retirement, end of life expenses and such closer down the road than when their children were growing up – grandparents need to look at gift-giving to grandchildren with an eye full of timeless wisdom and a heart brimming over with love. It is possible to have both.

Kids and Their Heroes

Kids and Their Heroes

Sometimes the heroes that kids look up to are imaginary or fictional. The toy and action figure industries have picked up on this fact, as have the media and the entertainment industry. That’s why children have to have this doll, this figure and see this movie or get this comic book or game. From the marketing point of view it’s big business. From the child’s point of view, it’s a way to frame their world, their values and gain a sense of there being someone who can vanquish their enemies and put their troubles to rest. This is true, at least in the non-literal world in which children often spend lots of time.

Figures like Captain America's Falcon give children a tangible hero. Someone strong and capable. Someone who can right some wrongs. Marvel Comics brought this dark-skinned force for good to the comic book market in 1969 and the action figure and other components soon followed. He was the first African American superhero to make it to mainstream America. His special feature was his unique way with the fowls of the air, including the Falcon that he owned. This obsession with birds began with the falcon named Redwing who he became close to during his early days growing up in Harlem.

The Green Lantern, was the first black superhero to appear in DC Comics. He made his debut in 1971 and had special powers through a ring that he wore. From 2004-2005 John Stewart played this fictional superhero role as a member of the squad referred to as The Justice League. He had training as an architect and did a stint in the Navy. He was often featured alongside Hal Jordan. DC Comics resurrected The Green Lantern in numerous ways since he first came on the scene.

The Black Panther came on the comic scene through Marvel Comics in 1966 as a member of the Fantastic Four.  His claim to fame has been his devotion to protect a fictional African nation. As recently as 2016, Black Panther has appeared on the scene in a movie Captain America: Civil War. Newly famed African American actor, Chadwick Boseman, portrayed him.

Red Super-Obama is a modern action figure that encompasses the two-term president, Barack Obama, who was America’s first African-American president. In addition to having chocolate skin, he wears a black suit with a white shirtwaist button-down shirt with a t-shirt underneath. There is an O on his shirt in the middle of his chest. Neat and tidy, but ready to set things right, this figure is sold on sights like, but is rumored to be hard to get.

The Real Hero Police Action Figure depicted as an African American has also become a bit of a sensation, especially in light of the recent dive in the public’s perception of police due to their clashes with citizens.  He is packaged with a nightstick, a gun, handcuffs, a police vest and more.

Top 3 Celebrity Kid Birthday Parties in 2015-2016

Top 3 Celebrity Kid Birthday Parties in 2015-2016


If you want to see a party that closes out a place or cost a pretty penny, you don’t have to look at the working class. It would appear that celebrities throw such parties for their children all the time. These are people with money to burn, and they often give their children nothing but the best and the best of everything. Party themes and all kinds of extravagance for children who are so young, they will only be able to remember through pictures shown to them when they are older.

One example is Suri, the daughter of Katie Holmes. This year the now 10 year old had a bash and a pre-bash in celebration of her birthday, which is April 18th. According to a People Magazine article, Suri’s mom posted a message on Instagram, declaring the day a special one for her. “So grateful for my favorite day of the year!!!!!! Happy Birthday to my sweet angel Suri," the actress posted. When Suri was four, she was given a party with a tea party theme with butterflies and a cake rumored to cost $5,000.

It looked like four was the magic number for Beyonce and JayZ’s daughter, Blue Ivy. For her birthday on January 7 this year, she had a fairy-themed party that rivaled others’ fairy-themed birthday bashes.

Teepees, butterfly chairs, flowers in abundance and balloons; along with two fairy princess visitors were part of Blue Ivy’s bash. Somehow, archery was woven into the celebratory affair.

Who did Tori Spelling call for her son Liam’s 4th birthday? She and hubby went all out with a Ghostbuster theme, complete with a bright green Ghostbuster cake.,24963

New Premier Online Toy Store for the Black and Brown Communities

New Premier Online Toy Store for the Black and Brown Communities

With the growing population of African American clientele, it is only logical that the shops and stores keep their needs and preference in mind. Regardless of the color of the stores and what community they are serving, the truth is that it would be a mistake to ignore the shopping needs of African Americans who are not only getting more conscious but increasing in numbers.

A simple example can be taken on the diversity in dolls being sold at retailers and online stores. If one observes, there is still a shortage of African American dolls in the market. Their absence in the market can send mixed messages especially to the impressionable minds of growing toddlers and children. Children should be given the chance to play with toys that send positive messages about themselves and build their self-esteem. The absence of African American dolls can send a negative message and hurt the self-esteem of African American kids.

Letters from children to Santa Claus often have details and demands for certain toys in particular colors. There are mentions of dolls with a certain skin and hair color. Children need a healthy and natural environment around them to develop and grow in. The toy is much more than just a toy and is a tickler for the blossoming intellect of the child.

Lack of African American dolls sheds light on the battles with colorism and the racially exclusive toy industry. Still, it is seen that Black children have fewer options for dolls to play. And, whatever dolls are made for them are not represented accurately and favorably. However, times are changing. Both African American and White communities are taking an interest in African American dolls that are a break away from the literal White mold.

Toy companies are realizing the need and creating more of those ethnically representative lines of African American dolls. While children carry certain preferences, and the Whiter dolls have always been the rage, it is only recently that many children have demonstrated preferences for African American dolls. And, with the growing population of children of color, the toy industry is taking notice. The purchasing power of African Americans is crossing over $1 trillion.

Explore IttyBittyBees, the new premier online toy store that aims to meet the need of the black and brown communities. Their mission is to provide the little ones with toys that are not only fun and exciting, but send a positive message.


Dolls Who Look Like Me

Dolls Who Look Like Me


Michelle Obama has a few dolls out there that look like her. But she’s the first lady and probably has not even a hint of a self-esteem problem. But most black girls do not have this claim to fame. Neither do black boys have a replica doll of them as does the president of the country. So, although chain stores feel that they are offering better diversity in dolls in the age of a black president, there is still a deficit of black dolls being represented. In fact, some stores sell only or mostly white dolls. This has to have an effect on the self-image that black children have. This is where IttyBittyBees comes in. This innovative supplier and marketing platform is all about creating fun for kids of color by allowing them to see their own reflection in the dolls, games and toys they spend time playing with. Black and brown dolls of various hues are part of the offerings of this company.

The beauty of this new company, is that their mission is grounded in the idea that children should not have toys that harm the image they have of themselves as beautiful, smart, capable, and successful as well as laden with assets that the world needs. The idea is that, as children play, their self-esteem is being built, so that, over time, they know their worth and value. During critical image shaping playtime, they have internalized the right kinds of positive messages about themselves.

An article in Psychology Today verifies that most people see a direct connection between personal well-being and effectiveness in life. So, the child that begins to receive early messages that builds them up, is going to be better off in a myriad of ways. And then during critical junctures, such as the teen years, this self-esteem can be further enhanced and promoted, as a barrier against those things that can launch an attack on self-image.

Perhaps the words of Gloria Gaynor are worth considering. She suggests that self-esteem comes from what one thinks of themselves, not what others think of them. With that in mind, think of what the child who thinks of themselves as smart, beautiful and capable will do when they go out into the larger world (school, work, etc). In most instances, they won’t accept someone else’s low assessment or devaluing ideas about them. With positive self-esteem, children can recover from the blows of life a whole lot better. They can exude a can-do attitude.

Toys and Dolls and Games, Oh My! 


Because so much is riding on this thing called self-esteem, any loving parent is going to want to do their part to give their children every image boosting advantage possible. They can accomplish this by checking out the wide range of carefully developed toys, dolls and games that build their child from the inside out.

The late founder of the Chick-Fil-a brand, S. Truett Cathy understood this concept when he wrote the book, “Its Better to Build Boys than to Mend Men. Equally true of women, there is merit in inputting the right data during the formative years. This idea finds its origins in Proverbs 6:22, which admonishes parents to train their children in the way they should go. This advice applies to boys and girls. So the question is – What parent wouldn’t want to train their child to have a healthy self-esteem?