What Age do Grandparents Stop Giving Gifts to Grandchildren?

It is estimated that grandparents spend an average of $218 on gifts for each grandchild. While that may be fine if you have one or perhaps two grandchildren, but if you have ten, that’s far more than most elderly Americans can afford.

Times are tough – especially if you are living on a fixed income. Even if you responsibly planned for your retirement throughout your younger years, no one could have foreseen the inflated economy that would await.

Maybe it’s not the finances that have you wondering when grandparents stop giving gifts to grandchildren but more the fact that at some point, the roles begin to reverse, and grandchildren begin to step up to the plate to nurture grandparents instead of vice versa.

Whatever your reason is for wanting to know, read on to find out more about when grandparents typically stop giving their grandchildren gifts.

🎁 Do Grandparents Stop Giving Grandchildren Gifts?

Most grandparents are truly blessed in that they get the best of both worlds. They get to play an active role in watching their grandkids grow up….but they aren’t burdened with all the responsibilities of raising them which amounts to one thing – they get to spoil them.

An AARP survey showed that 86% of grandparents spend money on gifts for their grandchildren. Giving gifts is rewarding and they don’t plan on denying their grandchildren, grown or not, or themselves of the pleasure they get. But, sometimes factors such as finances or health issues play a role in the decision.

Another study showed that grandparents who did plan to stop gifting to grandchildren agreed the age of twenty was a good stopping point. Others indicated once the grandchild graduated high school or college, the gifts would subside. Some said once their grandchild married the gifting would come to a halt.

The exact age the cessation occurs is usually determined by the grandparent or by fate. Sometimes, however, a thoughtful grandchild who is getting older may suggest it out of consideration for their grandparent.

🌅 A Look into Different Scenarios

Gift giving is supposed to be enjoyed by both parties – the gift giver and the gift receiver. When it fails to delight both sides, it’s time to reevaluate. Some situations that may constitute putting an end to the gifting include:

Change in financial status

As time goes on, it’s common for a grandchild’s income to rise due to completing an education and securing a job. It’s also not unusual for a grandparent’s financial situation to decrease because of retirement.

In the event that the grandchild is bringing home more money than the grandparent, discontinuing grandparent gifting is certainly understandable.

Change in lifestyle

When a grandchild graduates, gets married, or moves out on their own, a new phase in their life begins.

They are typically more self-sufficient and can buy their own things, unlike when they were children.

Any change of lifestyle can be a good mile marker for putting an end to gifting.

Medical issues

If a grandparent falls ill, gifting can be an unnecessary burden, physically, emotionally, and financially.

It’s a good time to stop giving to grandchildren and to everyone else for that matter. It’s time to place focus on more important things…like getting well.

Behavioral issues

When a grandchild becomes unappreciative of the gifts they receive from a grandparent, continuing to give would be enabling bad behavior.

At any age that the gifting is not embraced with gratitude is the perfect time to come to a screeching halt with the gifts.

🛑 How to Go About Stopping the Gifting

Putting the brakes on gifting is usually more difficult for the grandparent than it is for the grandchild, especially if the grandchild is older. Here are some ways to smoothly transition into the new non-gifting phase:

Heart to heart

Communication is key when it comes to letting your grandchild know you are not going to be giving them a gift any longer.

You don’t want them to be expecting one and not get one so it’s best to be upfront. Share your heart and the reason behind your decision.

If they react angrily, you can be very sure you made the right decision. If you do detect hurt feelings, reassure them of your love.

Write it

If you are more comfortable writing your grandchild to notify them of the changes, there’s nothing wrong with it as long as you let them know they are free to contact you.

It’s a good idea to let them know the situation is awkward for you (if it is) and that is why you chose to write rather than to talk in person.

Third party

There are times, like if you are ill or are otherwise unable to do the deed yourself, asking a third party to step in and relay the message for you is completely acceptable.

Especially if the third person is the grandchild’s parent or someone close to them who you trust to communicate your facts and feelings, there’s no harm done.

🖌️ Creative Alternatives

Transitioning into not gifting a grandchild is too much for some grandparents, regardless of how desperately it may need to be done due to finances, health, or state of mind.

If you find deleting gifts is not something that you can easily do, why not try one of the suggestions below?

Less expensive gift

It’s natural to get accustomed to giving your grandchildren whatever they ask for.

In today’s society with tech equipment at the top of most kid’s wish list, you can easily spend a small fortune on one grandchild. And, as they get bigger, so does the cost of their gifts.

If you don’t want to cut out gift giving all together, you can opt to spend less. That typically means getting more creative.

Find out other, larger gifts they’ll be getting and purchase something that goes along with it, like a video game versus a video device.

Spending time

Spending time together is one of the most valuable things in life but it’s hard to come by for most.

It’s a sacrifice to give up time when you need or want to be doing something else.

Grandparents love spending time with their grandkids though. As they grow up, time together gets fewer and farther between. Set aside some time to spend with your grandchild and make it special.

Bring out old photo albums and have a conversation about interesting family history.

Prepare their favorite meal. You could even take them out to dinner or to a movie. Whatever it is you do in lei of a gift, make it a precious act that’s priceless.

Give from the heart

If you have a skill or a craft you like to do, consider making something for your grandchild.

Crochet a blanket, knit slippers, sew a keepsake pillow, or write a short story or autobiography for them.

You don’t have to be the best crafter, artist, or writer as long as you add a loving touch.

💖 Rooted in Love

As long as you approach the delicate situation of putting a halt to giving your grandchildren gifts with love, all should be fine. Chances are good it will be a bigger deal to you than it is to them.

Grandchildren care deeply about their grandparents so think of the financial, physical, and emotional stress you’ll be ditching and think of the transition as your grandchild’s gift to you.

Cheryl Jerabek
Cheryl Jerabek
Cheryl is a professional writer that has been writing ever since she could hold a crayon. She has authored over 200 fiction and non-fiction books for teens and adults (both credited and ghost-written) on a wide range of subjects. Cheryl also writes blogs and articles on various topics and themes. Residing in a small mountain community in Southwest Colorado, Cheryl draws her inspiration from the gorgeous scenery, her 2 adult children, and 3 grandchildren. She enjoys traveling, party and event planning, and hanging out with family and friends. “I write so you don’t have to,” is Cheryl’s motto.

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