Sibling Gifting Rule – Do You Do It?

Kids’ birthdays come and go so quickly over the years for parents. But as a child – it can feel like  a lifetime until your next birthday. *Cue the birthday blues sulking*. However, for some lucky children out there, there may be a much shorter wait to get another gift. No, I’m not talking about Christmas. I’m talking about their siblings’ birthdays.

Here we will discuss what the Sibling Gifting Rule is, why parents follow it, and why others are more focussed on ‘teachable moments’ instead of one small gift.



What Is the Sibling Gifting Rule?

If you’ve not heard of it before, let me introduce you to the Sibling Gifting Rule. If you have more than one child yourself, you may have heard of and even practised this rule already. It is the act of giving the rest of your children a present on their brother’s or sister’s birthday. This is usually a small gift – nothing to steal the show, but enough to make them feel a bit of the excitement too.

There is no defined aged group to use the Sibling Gifting Rule on. It’s unlikely that this continue into the teenage years, and there’s no point spending that extra cash when they’re too young to understand. So really, it would depend completely on each individual child or family, and for the parents to decide!


The Down Sides

Small Boy Eating Messy Cake

This is no judgement to those that do it, and obviously parenting is objective with no real right or wrong answers. But there are arguably some downsides to this rule.

It could be said that there is a good lesson to be learned on their sibling’s birthdays. The idea that they should ‘wait their turn’ and that they must learn to celebrate other people. This is an extremely valuable lesson in selflessness. 

Plus, there are still plenty of other ways to make the non-birthday children feel included. For example – eating lots of cake, joining in all of the games or going to the birthday family outing if that’s what you choose to do.

Whatever is happening on the day, it’s more than likely that the whole family will be involved anyway. Maybe there is no need to make every child feel entitled to receiving gifts every birthday. Alongside that, it’s never ideal knowing you have one more thing to spend money on.


Some Will Be Questioning – ‘Why Do It Then?’

Two Sibling Boys Holding HandsBefore we begin judging and imagining all these spoiled children growing up paraded with gifts every other month, we must look at the reasons why.

If you have grown up in a household that practised this rule, I’m sure you can confidently say that it does not create a spoiled brat of a child (if you recognise that it has, that sort of negates the spoiled-ness anyway). Neither does it take away from the fact that it is another child’s birthday.

This might be a common misconception about the rule; that it doesn’t teach them to appreciate their sibling’s time to shine. Or maybe they will then have to learn the hard way that the world doesn’t revolve around them.

This could be true in some cases! Although, I think that may be a bit dramatic to say over a small gift…

Here Are The Ups…


When done correctly, there are a whole bunch of benefits to sibling gifting. Benefits to you, the kids and every other guest on the day. So here is why parents choose to partake:

It keeps them distracted!

Whether you’re hosting a party, going out for the day, or simply trying to give some love and attention to the special one on their birthday, giving the other children presents will keep them focussed and entertained. At least for a little while. This gives you the chance to get on with everything else you need to do for the day.

It makes them feels loved equally.

Of course, if you’re a parent, you know this is already true. But when they are young, it is much harder to understand that this day is ONLY about their brother or sister. Giving them a little something to make them feel involved is a nice feeling when you’re young. This is where the size of the present is important: it can be fun, but should be less than the birthday child’s gift/s. This can then create the balance of ‘teaching a lesson’ and also making them feel happy.

It builds excitement between siblings!

How lovely is it when they all get along! Whether they are close in age or not – having all your children get excited for the other one’s birthdays creates a great atmosphere between them. Who cares if it’s because they will get a present too?! They will still be making the birthday boy or girl feel even more celebrated.

You get to see the smile on their face 🙂

This might be the main thing. Why pass up the chance to see them smile? This way, the more children you have, the more times a year they are all smiling at the same time.

Okay, But What Do I Get For Them?



This is probably where it all comes together. The make or break. If you had never heard of the Sibling Gifting Rule before and now you really are considering it, the most important thing is what you get for them.


Think small but entertaining…


Distracting but not annoyingly noisy…


These children’s toys may not exist yet. But, as long as it doesn’t steal focus from the birthday child, it’s a winner. 

Examples: dressing up costume/prop, sweet treats, a colouring in or puzzle book. We’re talking £5 max here, at a push. This will also depend on how many children you have and your overall budget. 

Another good tip here would be: don’t wrap the present! They will still receive something fun, but the birthday boy or girl will be the only one with the fun of actually opening their gifts.

Would you do it? Our Consensus:

I think a lot of people would be sitting on the fence with this one still. But each to their own, and every child is different. At the end of the day, if it works for you and your family I think it is a great idea. If you prefer to look out for those ‘teachable moments’ and keep it as a lesson, there is more good to be done than harm with that too!

At the end of the day, I can’t tell the people who have grown up with this rule in their life from Adam and Eve. So what’s the difference? You tell me.

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