As a grandparent, it's wonderful to have the chance to spend time with your grandchildren - especially as this time together often comes without the responsibility of everyday parenting. The same goes for treats - it's a perk of the job that you can spoil them at Christmas, on a birthday or for no particular reason. But what is the ideal gift for a grandchild?
If you're planning to splash out, it's wise to talk to the parents first. They will be able to point you in the direction of a present that is best suited to the child in question. After all, what was the favourite TV show or character a few months ago may now have fallen out of favour. Interests, hobbies and abilities can change quickly - so family who are with them daily are best placed to guide you.
If you decide you'd like to buy a toy, ensuring that it is age appropriate is one of the most important factors. Luckily manufacturers include clear guidelines on packaging so you can see the recommended age range. Reading reviews online or in magazines can help you make an informed decision, too. A gift receipt can be a good bet just in case they've already acquired it without you knowing.
But what about if you'd like to select something a little bit different? How about an experience? This could be tickets to the theatre or zoo, a theme park or leisure activity. Or why not think about a family pass to a local attraction? Better still, if you can accompany them, you can share the excitement and make a lasting memory. A magazine subscription is also worth considering. This is a gift idea that can suit all age groups, from pre-schoolers to teens.
If you're lucky enough to spend quality time with your grandchildren at your home, why not treat them to a present they can enjoy with you? Something like craft supplies, cooking utensils or sports equipment that they can use at your house. Plus if they decide to leave the gift at your house, it won't matter if you're duplicating something they already have.
According to a report by Lloyd's Bank, British grandparents are also very generous when it comes to giving money to grandchildren. Collectively they handed over £5.6 billion last year1 so it's no surprise that grandparents are playing a key role in helping to provide financial security for their children and grandchildren's future.
Aside from slipping a fiver in a card, there are a number of ways to make a financial contribution to your grandchildren. The options range from contributing to a savings account, Junior ISA, pension or trust fund to investing in premium bonds. Financial gifts can also be beneficial in reducing potential inheritance tax liabilities - but please obtain financial advice before making any decisions.
If you're trying to make your retirement income go further, however, you can't go wrong by giving your time to your family. A day out, a ‘sleepover' with a favourite film or a picnic are great ideas to help celebrate a special occasion. They won't have to cost you a fortune – but are sure to be remembered fondly.