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Tween Outings- Teaching Responsibility

by Michele | April 14th, 2016 | Social, Tweens

vacuum choreAs your child enters the tween years, he is going to want to spend more time with friends. A lot of this will be spent hanging out at one of their houses- shooting baskets, playing PS4 games, or streaming tv shows. Those are the easy and inexpensive get-togethers. All you need is a parent (or older sibling) at home and some snacks, and you have a fun afternoon or evening ahead of you.

Then there are the less frequent, but more choreographed, outings. They include things like an afternoon of ice skating at a rink and a trip to the movies. Yes, these are fun, typical things for a tween to do, but with them come decisions.

First, there is the decision, which we discussed a couple weeks ago, about whether your tween can go alone. (Click here to read.) The simple answer for me is younger tweens need a chaperone, older tweens are a case by case decision.

Second, there is the communication piece. What are your expectations for your tween? If it is a group of three or four, you may not have to drive. Does your tween need to text when dropped off or picked up at the theater? Of course, although this is not a decision, your tween does need to know exactly which parents are driving and provide that info to you.

Third, there is the question of money. At eleven, your child doesn’t have a job. She isn’t even old enough to babysit. However, her friend’s mom has offered to take them to the movies; she just needs to pay for her ticket. It may seem simple to just give her the money because this isn’t a regular occurrence. However, that also sets the expectation that these outings are free to her.

A simple solution that we used in our house was aligning an outing with a task. If a tween wanted money to go to the movies, a bigger chore was assigned. It was up to the child to decide if the chore was worth doing. These were never overwhelming, all-day tasks but enough for the tween to appreciate that money is earned.

These tween outings weren’t a regular occurrence in our house. It seems that they and their friends were pretty happy to hang out at one another’s houses, eat snacks, and wait until dark to play games of manhunt in the yard. For those occasions when the movies beckoned, we had a way to give them some freedom and teach some responsibility.

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