Money Skills for Preteens
How to Earn Money: If you just hand money over to your tween without his having to earn it, you're missing out on teaching him an important life lesson. Learning how to work for his money will teach him the value of hard work, and the satisfaction that comes with a job well done. Allowing your child to earn money, either by helping out around the house to earn an allowance or by taking on certain jobs such as dog walker or a mother's helper, will also add to your child's skill set and boost his or her confidence. If your child is interested in working for his money, help him find appropriate jobs in your neighborhood, or offer up projects around the house that need to be completed.
How to Save: Once your child is earning money it's likely that he or she will want to begin spending it. But it's also important that your child learn how to save a portion of the income. Saving for a rainy day or saving for something that's really important to your tween (such as a trip or a new cell phone) helps your child learn about delayed gratification. Encourage your tween to set aside, say 25 percent, of the income in a savings account or a piggy bank. You never know, your child may develop a certain passion for saving, and watching those savings grow.
How to Spend Wisely: Spending money wisely is a hard lesson for many tweens and adults to learn. But it's an important lesson, and learning it at a young age will save your child from future frustration and disappointment. It's hard to convince your child that some purchases just aren't worth their hard earned money -- such as cheap toys that will break soon after purchase, or video games that your child will find boring in a week or two. Sometimes, it's best to let your child learn this lesson the hard way, by allowing him or her to make a few foolish purchases. Once they have, you can advise your child on how to avoid making the same mistake twice, and hopefully use his money more wisely. For example, you could encourage your child to enroll in a video game subscription service that will allow him to return games when he's bored with them and exchange them for another. Or, you could help your child investigate possible purchases beforehand to determine whether they really are worth the money.
How to Give Back to Others: It's wonderful to earn your own spending money, but it's also wonderful to give to others less fortunate. Teaching your child how to give back is an important part of mastering money skills. Some parents may require that their children hold back 10 percent for church. Others may ask their children to donate a portion of their income to a charity of the child's choice. Whatever you require, be sure it's reasonable and give your child some say in the decision. It may take a while for your child to learn that his contribution is important, but once he does, he will be likely to continue with the habit.