Gift Suggestions for Kids of Blind Parents

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As the blind mother of two toddlers, the holiday gift-giving season can cause a bit of anxiety. While it’s absolutely wonderful so many friends and family want to purchase something for my daughters, small parts, tiny batteries, and other tripping hazards are serious concerns for me.

Parents who are blind or visually impaired may find taking a proactive approach during the holiday shopping season can be beneficial to both gift-giver and recipient. Offering gifting suggestions takes the guessing out of a busy retail season and allows the visually impaired parent to assist in choosing items they deem safe and enjoyable for their child.

wish list with images of holly and ribbon

Holiday Wish List

1. Make A Wish List: One way blind parents can help family and friends select toys their children will love while keeping their homes safe is by creating a "wish list". Several online stores like and Toys R Us offer this option. You simply choose the items your child might like to receive and then email the link to friends and family. Purchasers can either have items shipped to themselves (to be wrapped and later delivered) or sent directly to the child. Wish lists are a great way for blind and visually impaired parents to choose items they feel are safe, manageable, and age appropriate.

What’s the best way to make others aware of your wish list? Be proactive. I usually create my list in early November, selecting items my kids want at a variety of price points. After we’ve eaten our Thanksgiving turkey, I send out a mass email to all my friends and family who I know have intentions of purchasing gifts for my children. In that email, I include a photo of my girls from the day’s festivities, wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving, and provide a link to the wish list, as many of them will take advantage of Black Friday sales.

2. Recommend The Gift of Experience: While a less traditional holiday gift option, giving the gift of experience is invaluable. Is there a zoo or children’s museum near you? Maybe your family likes a specific sport’s team? Visually impaired parents should research these types of activities in their communities, offering friends and family the option of purchasing event tickets or annual memberships. Prices vary depending on geographic location and type of event, but these kinds of activities promote family connection and, in some cases, valuable education.

3. Educational Classes: Instead of cluttering your house up with toys, ask gift-givers to purchase an educational class for your child. Most local YMCA’s have a variety of reasonably priced courses representing all interests from swimming to arts and crafts. For as little as $65, friends and family can choose to give your child several weeks of entertainment, not only offering them the opportunity to acquire new knowledge, but allowing blind parents the option to both participate and connect with other parents in their communities.

4. College Savings or 529 Plan: I know it doesn’t sound like much fun to a kid, but all parents know the stress relating to saving for college. Forgo the "stuff" option all together and tell friends and family how they can make a contribution to a college savings plan. Most states offer 529 college savings plans. Once enrolled, parents are sent a packet with information on how they can deposit gift contribution’s on their children’s behalf. You can also check out your state’s website for college savings plan for downloadable forms to mail in contributions.

5. Emphasize Needs Instead of Wants: My toddlers have a long list of wants this Christmas and will happily rattle off everything they are expecting from that guy in the red suit. I have had many people ask me "Do the girls ‘need’ anything?" My response to this question is always two things: clothes and shoes. Most people will then ask for my children’s sizes or inquire what store they can purchase a gift card from. Blind and visually impaired parents should be prepared to emphasize needs instead of wants. Know your children’s clothing and shoe size and be prepared to specifically instruct where you find it most easy to shop. I prefer to ask for gift cards from stores I know I can easily get to and those I frequent most regularly because I have developed a relationship with the staff. These are the places where I know I can get help finding what I need for my daughters and have a pleasant shopping experience. In addition, places like are excellent choices for gift cards because I can purchase anything my kids need anytime—including diapers, formula, clothing and snacks—and have it sent directly to my home, usually with two business days.

6. The True Meaning of the Holidays: I make a concerted effort to teach my kids the true spirit of the holiday season. While it’s lovely to be remembered and be given a gift during this magical time of year, it’s an even greater gift to give to those less fortunate. We have a tradition in our house where I hang all the holiday cards on my kitchen cabinets. At least two or three of those cards every year mentions a "gift has been made in honor of your family" usually to a charity we feel passionately about. Charitable donations are a beautiful testament to remember any family this holiday.

Above all, always remember it’s the thought that counts when you or your child receives a gift this holiday. Accept it graciously. Shower them with thanks. If their choice makes your fear for you or your child’s safety, make the determination to return or exchange the item in private. Embrace the holiday season and enjoy every minute with your children. We all know they all grow up way too quickly.

Gift Ideas for Children Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

Gift Ideas for Parents of Children Who are Blind or Visually Impaired

Blind Parenting

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