Becoming an aunt – whether biological or otherwise– is undoubtedly an exciting experience. This is a title that requires quite a bit of responsibility on your part, but it also comes with a lot of opportunities to have fun and dote on your little nephew or niece.
This article will give you lots of tips and ideas that can help you be an awesome aunt. Let's get started!
1. Be a gift-giver
While it is true that money or gifts can't buy love, your nephew or niece will definitely not mind getting a gift or two from you every once in a while. Here are a few gift ideas that will suit the little angels whether they are young or older:
Buying clothes for your niece/nephew is a great way of showing your affection. If your nephew or niece is old enough to know what's in style and what isn't, buying trendy clothes will earn you lots of "awesome aunt" points. Plus, their parents will also really appreciate the gesture. You can buy cute dresses, trendy jumpsuits, and chic jumpers for your niece, and stylish tracksuits or warm jackets for your nephew.
- Toys and games
Your nephew/niece will obviously be over the moon if you get them a handheld gaming console that features built-in controllers, such as the Nintendo Switch. If they are younger, consider buying them simpler toys like Barbie dolls, toy cars, or Legos.
Getting storybooks for budding readers is a great way to be an awesome aunt while at the same time expanding your nephew/niece's creativity. In addition to books, also consider gifting journals in which they can document their thoughts and generally express themselves.
- Tech accessories
Tech accessories such as headphones, earphones, and speakers are always a great gift, especially for older kids.
2. Do interesting things with them
Make their days a little different by taking them out to an interesting place. Here are a few suggestions:
- The movies
If there is a movie that your nephew/niece has been bugging their parents to see, take the opportunity to swoop in as the awesome aunt and treat them to a movie date – just make sure that the movie is age-appropriate before taking them to see it!
- The museum
You can also spend a day with them at the museum. Let them explore the different exhibits on their own and learn something new by the end of the day.
- The pet store/local shelter
Treat your nephew/niece to a day at your local pet store or shelter. These are great places for them to interact with animals and to cultivate a love for them. Some pet stores and shelters even have set hours where you can go and hang out with the animals!
- The beach
Take your nephew/niece to the beach for a fun and relaxing day. Depending on your preferences, you can spend time in the water swimming or playing different water games, or simply spend time at the shore building sandcastles or taking long, relaxing walks.
- A concert or music festival
If your nephew/niece is a little older and loves music, consider taking them to a concert or music festival. This is a great way to bond with then over a common interest, as well as a fun way to create memories.
- A road trip
A road trip gives you a great opportunity to spend some quality time with your nephew or niece. You don’t need to go too far – maybe a couple of towns over – but spending time in a car with your nephew/niece can allow you to know them even better. Come up with a collaborative road trip playlist and bring along a variety of car games to keep them busy.
3. Teach them a new skill
If you have a unique skill, consider taking the time to teach your nephew or niece how to do it. This can become something that they only do with you, helping you create an even stronger bond in the end. Here are a few simple skills you can start teaching your nephew/niece today:
- Playing a music instrument (guitar, piano, cello, violin, and so on)
- A sport you are good at – this could be soccer, basketball, baseball, and so on.
4. Share your experiences with them
If your nephew or niece is going through an experience that is similar to what you went through at their age, share the story detailing your experience with them. Kids love listening to stories, especially if they are relatable, or if they feature people that they are familiar with such as their parents, other aunts/uncles, or grandparents.
Sharing your experiences in this way is a great way to not only let your nephew/niece know that they are not going through their experience alone but to also teach them about their family history.
5. Keep in touch
You need to stay in touch with them to make them appreciate you more. These days, to be considered an awesome aunt, it is important to cultivate your relationship with your nephew/niece through text messages, emails, and/or phone calls. This is especially crucial if you are unable to visit your niece/nephew as often as you'd like or you don't live close enough.
Taking advantage of these forms of communication shows that you care about them while also giving them the opportunity to reach you in a variety of ways.
6. Take the time to listen to them
Sometimes, parents are just too busy to give their 100% attention to their kids, especially if they have busy careers or several children. In such cases, you can take the time to listen to the stories your nephew/niece has to share. Actively listen to what they have to say and advise them as best as you can.
While it is important to maintain a level of confidentiality with them, if what they share with you is serious, hear them out and help out however you can, then let their parents know what’s going on.
7. Celebrate important events
Celebrate your niece/nephew’s birthday by showing up for the occasion with a present or sending it to them if you can’t attend in person. To make your present extra special, consult with their parents to find out what they want, and if it is reasonable, get it for them.
If your nephew/niece has a school recital, sports game, or graduation, consider helping to plan for the special day and/or attending the event to show your support.
8. Babysit whenever you are in town
Offer to babysit your niece/nephew whenever you are around and have the time. Babysitting allows you to spend time with the little ones, whether it is for a few hours or a whole weekend. It is also a great way to help out the parents especially if they have an emergency at work or need to get away for a few days.
To become the awesome aunt that you have always wanted to be, the most important thing to remember is to be present. Kids appreciate the time spent with them more than any gifts or presents. Try to be involved in their lives as much as you can. This means babysitting whenever you can, listening to them, advising them when they need it, spending time with them, and checking in on them by calling, texting, or emailing them. It is these little things that count the most.