A transition happens when your child turns thirteen. As they make the transition from child to teenager, it’s natural for them to want more responsibilities and freedoms as a result. As their parent, your job is to continue setting healthy boundaries while nurturing their budding independence. At the same time, you’re making a transition yourself: the transition to a parent of a teenager. As a result, the gifts you get your child for their thirteenth birthday may have more meaning behind them than gifts you’ve gotten them in the past. Here are some ideas to make your child’s thirteenth birthday extra special.
When your child was younger, there was no question of curfew, or if there was, it was a simplified curfew, like requiring them to come home when the street lights came on. Now that your child is older, you may let them stay out later with their friends or travel further from home when they go out. Offer your child a personalized wrist watch as a symbol that they’re now old enough to keep track of curfews and bedtimes in a more mature way.
A Camp or Lesson
One of the most rewarding things about seeing our children progress from babies into teenagers is watching them develop their interests and hobbies. By the time your child is a teenager, you’re likely to have a good idea of what they’re into. Teenagers love to see that their parents appreciate their individuality, so signing them up for a summer camp tailored around their interest or getting them lessons to improve a skill they’ve been working towards can be a really rewarding gift for them. This is also a great way to set them up to potentially use those interests or skills towards a future career.
Tickets to Something
One of the greatest gifts you can give your child is the gift of an experience. Whether that experience is a Broadway show or a local concert, giving them tickets to a more grown-up event can help them feel like they’re old enough to have the same experiences you enjoy having. It might even be a way to celebrate a later bedtime with them. The tickets can be for you to enjoy with them or, if you can get some of their friends’ parents on board, for them to enjoy with a couple of buddies.
An Upgraded Room
If your teenager is still in the same bedroom that they’ve been in since birth, chances are they might be grateful for a bedroom upgrade. There’s something very adult feeling about taking the Care Bear decals off of the walls and replacing them with posters of bands they’re into or movies they’ve seen. This can also be a bonding experience as you both sift through their old toys and decide what they might have outgrown and what they might be ready to donate. Meanwhile, you can enjoy a new paint job and a newly organized home. If you’re really lucky, they might even take so much pride in their new room that they’ll work to keep it clean!
A Shopping Trip
Teenagers don’t necessarily want to wear clothes that their parents picked out for them. So, rather than buying them new clothes for their birthday, consider giving them a clothing budget that they can either spend on a day out with friends or spend when they go on a shopping trip with you. This way, you’re still getting them the practical gift of clothes, but you can help them celebrate their budding independence by letting them be in charge of what clothes they get.
One of the things that you’re celebrating with your child’s thirteenth birthday is their growing independence. They’re one step closer to being out on their own and taking care of themselves. The need to learn more life skills is increasing as a result. Giving them a cookbook lets them know that they can be in charge of what they’re eating, at least occasionally, and also helps build the foundation for them to learn an important skill: Cooking.
Teenagers are all about their friends. Give them an opportunity to capture those moments they’re loving while also learning the ins and outs of working a digital camera. You could even give them a camera that has video functionality so they can make their own YouTube videos or capture their own home movies for later. Not only will this help them learn a skill that they can carry with them into adulthood, but it’s also a beautiful way for them to celebrate the times they’re having right now.
Buying gifts for your child’s thirteenth birthday is a little different than buying gifts for their previous birthdays. Thirteen is a landmark age for a lot of children, and because of that, it deserves a landmark gift. The best gifts are going to be ones that show that you recognize that they’re getting older and want new freedoms and independences. Helping them grow their gifts and learn new skills will ensure that these budding teenagers are ready to be on their own when they become adults in a mere five years. Because at the end of the day, our most important job as parents is preparing for the day when we have to let go and trust our children to take care of themselves. If we’ve done the leg work up until that point, we can be confident that they’ll be okay.