There’s never really been a good word for kids between the ages of 8–12. There was a time in the early fifties when they were called “subteens.” Flattering, right? Some folks started calling them “‘tween-agers,” and eventually we just settled on “tweens.”
Our struggle to come up with an acceptable term for this group reinforces the idea that 8–12 is kind of a lost age. They don’t require the same kind of constant supervision as young kids, but they don’t have the independence of teenagers.
But this is a pivotal time where kids feel trapped in an awkward transition. They’re learning to relate to peers, adjust to social rules, and develop the skills they’ll need in their teen years. And these skills include money management.
Here are some hands-on tips for giving them a financial jump start.
• Start talking to them about banking
If you don’t have a savings and spending account for your pre-teens, it’s probably time. Learning to manage a bank account is a must. In fact, putting money into a savings account is one of the best habits a tween can pick up. For every $10 they earn, try encouraging them to put $1 into savings.
• Get them a debit card
Our world is a lot less reliant on bills and coins. And a debit card prepares your child for money handling in a largely digital world. Think about it this way; when you can control the spending limits and access, a card becomes safer than giving your kids cash—especially when you can set limits on the card.
• Help them make online purchases
Making an online purchase is a fairly common activity. Kids should be as comfortable buying something on Amazon as they are making brick-and-mortar store purchases. Guiding them through this process demystifies this ordinary task.
• Teach them how to monitor their account with an app
The ability to check in on your account from a mobile app adds a whole new level of security to banking. Your child should be able to monitor their account and their spending habits—and you should, too.
• Help them make money outside the home
At this age, they’re ready to start experimenting with work. Why not talk to family, neighbors, and church members about opportunities for doing yard work, babysitting, or helping others with chores? This not only helps them make money, but also instills a strong work ethic.