Should I let my son spend gift money on anything he pleases?

Whether children should be allowed to choose what they buy with gift money is a personal choice and will differ for parents depending on their own values and beliefs. One alternative to allowing him to spend his gift money on anything he wants is to allow him to choose from a selection of acceptable options (e.g., any puzzle from this store, one of these 3 books). Depending on the amount, you can divide the money up and allow him to choose what he wants to buy with a portion of the money and then put the rest of the money away in savings. Using a divided piggy bank, like the Money Savvy Pig, makes teaching good money habits easy. It has 4 separate slots and compartments to help him “save, spend, donate, and invest” his money.

Jennie Ito, Ph.D.

Child Development Expert

Jennie Ito is a mother of two and a child development consultant who specializes in children’s play and toys. Before becoming a consultant for LeapFrog, she was an intern at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, and later worked as a content expert for the Association of Children’s Museum’s “Playing for Keeps” Play Initiative. Jennie earned her doctorate degree in developmental psychology at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada.