Your ‘child’ is about to turn sweet 16, but what do you buy them? It’s a big year and a milestone birthday, but celebrating with a new car isn’t something every parent is able to or willing to do. And that’s ok.

It’s too easy to get caught up in the materialistic items. What’s valuable though, is understanding what your teen really wants and how you can offer the gift of something that benefits them longer than the latest toy, smartphone or gadget.

If you’re looking for some out-of-the-box ideas to install lifelong values into your growing human, look beyond a car with a bow or that promised iPhone X. Here are some practical gift ideas that develop confidence, install safety and encourage them to accept responsibility:

Driving Lessons

Teens want the gift of freedom and independence when they hit 16. Help them embrace it by investing in driving lessons through a qualified and professional driving school. This encourages them to build their confidence behind the wheel, giving you the confidence to allow them to do so. There are not too many teens that aren’t in a rush to get their P plates – give them the starting tools to make it happen.

To tie into the driving lessons gift, you can create a ‘driver’s license kit’ with the essential goodies if they have almost saved for a car. This care package of sorts can include a dedicated phone pouch or dock to keep their phone secure and out the way when driving, car cleaning items, roadside assistance membership, fuel cards or anything else that will assist on their next adventure.

Individual Bank Account (with a Starting Point!)

Most teens love getting cash as a birthday present. Put a spin on a regular gift and open up their own bank account for them, with the money inside it instead. The gift of responsibility is important for 16-year old’s. And with responsibility comes expenses – especially when they start driving. If they want the privilege of driving a car, they must understand they need to contribute to some of those expenses too, as well as the expenses that come with becoming a teenager and wanting to do more things on their own.

The Gift of Self-Protection

Self-defence is an incredibly important tool. Everyone wants their teens to be safe, but not every situation can be controlled. Safety should always be a number one priority. Finding a balance between wanting to protect you child 24/7 and giving them the freedom to live their lives is crucial though.

By giving the gift of self-protection, you’re investing in the right tools to give your teen the best chance. It’s not just about knowing how to ‘attack’, however. Self-defence is teaching teens how to avoid certain situations and use their heads smartly. Enrolling your teen into a martial arts course can be a great fitness opportunity and way to make new friends, as well as giving them the right tools to look after themselves.

On-the-Go Mobile Charger

Teens live for their electronic devices. Instead of buying them the latest smartphone, grab them a portable charger or battery pack so they can recharge on the go. Most parents struggle to get their teens off the phone, so encouraging extra ‘phone time’ can be frowned upon. But when you know they’re out and about, having access to extra battery time for emergencies is definitely helpful.

Buying a gift that you feel would be beneficial to your teen-kids in the long term, rather than spending money on something that’ll get tossed in 6 months sets them up for a better future and teaches them valuable lessons growing up.

Which gift idea will you be buying for your teen this birthday?

  • Driving lessons are a really great present


  • All great idea’s for a 16 year old,thanks!


  • For my daughter’s 16th we had a beach party. It was a lovely day enjoyed by all.


  • When my daughter turned 16, we took a bus load of her friends on a meal, movie and shopping expedition. I think they had a good day


  • I really like that idea. Perfect for driving lessons n saving up for a car. Its better than putting money to something thats not worthwhile or a waste of money. Im definitely going to do that for my kids.


  • These are all fabulous ideas for a 16 year old – love the driving lessons and bank account in particular!


  • Great gift ideas for a sweet 16th birthday The most appealing and useful idea I liked was the idea of giving driving lessons its fantastic


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