I thought some of you might find it interesting to hear what a poular gift in our home is for our kids. Coupons!
When I was a kid, I remember giving my mom coupons for services or a certain amount of kisses and hugs, redeemable by me. She always loved them, but never redeemed them! Much more recently, I thought about how to give our kids coupons, something that they would love and something they would use. Here’s what I do:
I spend some time thinking about the kind of thing each child enjoys doing, in order to make each coupon something that will really be appreciated. I make about 10 – 12 coupons for each child, and compile them into a coupon book. Most of the coupons are for small things that I know they will appreciate, with one bigger coupon for the older kids. Some of the small coupons are for things like: 1/2 staying up late after bedtime (or an hour, for older kids), picking a favorite video, playing a game with me or dh, reading an extra story, a trip to the dollar store (to pick up one item for the youngers, two for the olders), a trip for pizza or doughnuts and cocoa (we eat a pretty healthy diet, so something like this is a rare treat :)) with one parent. I find that the idea of a special outing with just one child and one parent is really appreciated by the kids. The one on one time makes whatever outing that much more special. One child may love swimming, so a coupon for her would be a swimming trip to the local pool with mommy. Another child will enjoy raquetball or a catch with daddy, or a mother-daughter workout at the gym, so that’s what they get. For the older kids, the coupons included a concert ticket to a favorite singer (accompanied by dad), a series of weight training classes given at our community center that enables kids under 16 to have access to the workout area without a parent’s supervision, and a session at a local pottery studio (which includes buying a ceramic piece and then several hours of studio time).
Then I type up each list in a nice font (a different font for each child), with it written twice on each line. I photocopy the list onto a sheet of colored paper (bright, so it doesn’t easily get lost!), then cut the list into long strips and staple all the strips together at the end. When a child wants to redeem a coupon, he rips off the half of the coupon on the right, leaving him with a copy of what it was he did. That way, even once the coupon has been used, they still have a printed stub as a reminder of what they received.
It is amazing how much the kids love these. They look forward to seeing what not only each of them gets, but what all of their siblings get. It’s a unassuming looking gift, but they each love getting so many ‘presents’ all at once, and love being able to control when they use the coupons.
Get creative, and you’ll find you can think of some pretty fun stuff for your kids, too!