If your child loses a tooth after you pick up a birthday present for their friend, whose party happens to take place the same day you’re shopping for a teacher gift, your wallet could feel light pretty quickly. After all, it can be hard to know how much to spend on all the occasions that come with raising kids. We surveyed Dallas-Fort Worth moms and consulted a local gift concierge to determine reasonable budgets for various kid gifts. (But always stay within the range that works for you! Cliché but true: It’s the thought that counts.)
Price for Kids’ Birthday Gifts
Occasion: Birthday party for a friend of your child
DFW moms say: The average is approximately $22. We received answers between $15 and $30.
Gifting pro says: Samantha Worrell, a Flower Mound mom who founded a gift concierge business called The Gift Tailor (thegifttailor.com), recommends $20–$25. She suggests a trendy accessory or toy for younger kiddos, and for older kids using this amount for a gift card at a popular store.
Hint, hint: “With mom friends, have an agreement on the spending range for birthday gifts for all the children,” Worrell says. “This avoids one family seeming more or less indulgent than the others.”
Price for Teacher Gifts
Occasion: Back to school, holidays, end of the school year
DFW moms say: For elementary homeroom teachers, the average is approximately $35. We received answers between $15 and $75. One mom tells us that she has spent more in the last two years because of the stress teachers have gone through related to the pandemic. With a specialty teacher (such as one who works with a child who has dyslexia), the amount may be $50 or more. A middle school mom tells us she gives a $5 coffee shop gift card for each of her child’s seven teachers.
Gifting pro says: Worrell suggests $30–$40 per gift for the holidays, teacher appreciation week and the end of the year.
Hint, hint: A handwritten note from you and from your child is priceless.
Price for Child Care Gifts
Occasion: Birthday, graduation or holiday gift for a nanny, sitter or day care teacher
DFW moms say: $37, on average. We received answers between $20 and $50. More than half the moms we surveyed say they don’t buy a child care gift, typically because they don’t have a regular caregiver.
Gifting pro says: If you have a frequent, consistent babysitter, Worrell would spend $40–$50 annually. For a full-time nanny, Worrell recommends $75–$100. “This is one instance where I’d recommend giving cash or a general gift card not tied to a particular store,” Worrell adds. “I find American Express gift cards are good because they don’t have a maintenance fee and are widely accepted in grocery stores and mall stores.” For an end-of-year nanny gift, Worrell advises a cash bonus equivalent to a week’s pay. “And when you get to the point of no longer needing a nanny, I’d suggest a parting payment or bonus of one week’s pay for every year worked.”
Hint, hint: Have your little one draw a picture or make a card for the caregiver.
Price for Baby Gifts
Occasion: A mom friend welcomes a new bundle of joy
DFW moms say: The average is approximately $50. We received answers between $20 and $100+. -plus. Many moms tell us the amount depends on how close they are to the new mama and whether the baby is her first—and how much the giver just loves bestowing baby gifts.
Gifting pro says: Worrell tells us the best gift you can give in this instance is your time. “Offer to take the older kids for a few hours so Mom can get a break, or tell her you can take care of the baby for a couple of hours so she can take a deep nap or a luxurious bath,” Worrell says, noting that if you do want to spend something, you could provide comfy pajamas or bath salts for the new mom.
Hint, hint: “Print out a ‘gift of time’ certificate for a cute touch,” Worrell says. “And very important: Keep reminding her to use it. Many women push self-care to the back burner.” Another idea along these lines: Take care of a meal so the new parents don’t have to make dinner. You could provide a homemade dish or provide a gift card to a food delivery service like Door Dash.
Tooth Fairy Payout
Occasion: Your kiddo loses a tooth
DFW moms say: $4, on average. We received answers between $0 (one mom shared that “the tooth fairy isn’t real in our house”) and $10.
Gifting pro says: 25 cents–$1. “Make this easy to take care of when you’ve had a busy day and suddenly remember at 2am,” Worrell advises. But if you do have time to do a little extra, Worrell suggests keeping a stash of small gift-card sized envelopes and having your child place their tooth inside at night. When you take the tooth, leave the money and a sprinkle of confetti (“fairy dust,” as Worrell calls it). You could also order a set of commemorative coins from catalog.usmint.gov. “Your kiddo will have a collection by the time they get their full adult set of teeth,” Worrell says.
Hint, hint: Several moms give their highest amount for the first tooth and drop down for subsequent teeth. Or bypass actual money altogether—one mom tells us her family’s tooth fairy brings small gifts (Pokemon cards, a card game, a Lego figurine, etc.).
Photo courtesy of Kate Voskova