By Colin J. Theriot


            Your little ones grow up fast, and gift buying for them can be a complicated, frustrating ordeal. It might sometimes seem as if you've no sooner brought the toy home than your little darling has already outgrown it. A child's early mental and physical development, however, is critical to their childhood, and may even determine their success in school and emotional health. Toys and gifts are more than mere playthings, then, more than an opportunity for fun on sunny days and preoccupation on rainy afternoons. They're the beginning of habits that last a lifetime.

            Of course, the obvious means to finding the perfect gift is observing them. Babies are quite clear on their likes and dislikes, and finding the perfect gift may be as simple as buying a newer version of a weathered favorite: a new teddy bear, a fresh version of a favorite pair of pajamas, or a new outfit to wear on special "make believe" occasions. These gifts are simple and easy to find, but may also backfire: when children tire of the old version of something, they won't necessarily appreciate the new edition. So, make sure the unique gift you find is actually something with some "shelf life," as difficult as that can sometimes be. You'll save money anticipating - as much as possible - a child's likes and dislikes.

            Another sensible gift-giving strategy is to buy gifts that stimulate the imagination. Childhood is sometimes described as a period of prolonged discovery, and there are few things children enjoy more than an unexpected surprise. Buying something that fuels their discovery of the everyday world, such as a toy helicopter or fire truck, enables them to make first contact with the "grown up world" and at the same time set their imagination afloat. Sporting goods, too, such as a baseball bat or uniform, make excellent gifts and encourage the child towards new, healthy activities.

            On a different track, a personalized gift is a sure way to create a unique heirloom. Gifts can be wonderful and unique, but personalizing - as the very word implies - means making something one of a kind. Long after childhood is left behind, a personalized gift, for example, something with monogramming or even engraving, will remain as a treasured reminder of their earliest days, and the generosity of the gift giver, as well.

            Corner Stork Baby Gifts carries a full range of the gifts described above, including personalization and engraving on some items. Their online showroom can be found here: 


Colin J. Theriot is a writer and designer from Louisiana who has written extensively for the child care profession.