There is no doubt that tweens cost more than the younger child or toddler. This is because they are becoming one of the most influential buying decision makers in the house.
Tweens have pester power and disposable income (pocket money or ‘keep happy’ money in some cases), and that makes them powerful.
They also have a mind of their own, and a lot of peer pressure to adhere to, so having the ‘latest’ stuff and ‘coolest’ stuff seems the most important thing in their small worlds. And sometimes it is. It’s not nice to be the only kid on the block without the MP3 player, or whatever the latest cool item is.
So, bearing that in mind, how do you discern between a ‘treat’ and a reward, and just plain indulgence?
No doubt there will be a million experts offering advice, and a lot of them will be very good.
I can only offer my insight from personal eperience, in as much as I believe you need to offer all three item, treats, rewards, and indulgence, in measured ways.
My children work for their pocket money. What they earn they can treat themselves with buying an item they’ve wanted, which also teaches them patience (till they have enough pocket money), and the value of a hard – earned pound.
If my tween does particularly well on a school project, a sports achievement, or in general achievement, over and above what I would normally expect ( and my standards are VERY high), I reward them with a little extra gift, a new pen, a new top they wanted. Nothing extravagant, just a ” I know you tried really hard, and you did very well” reward.
Then there is indulgence – pure indulgence, and I tend to keep that to birthdays, Christmas, or sometimes holidays if we are traveling away. This is the digital camera they wanted, or the guitar, or the latest toy/ gadget everyone has.
Sometimes they may have to wait a little to get it even though the product is out earlier than their birthday, but if they don’t know they are getting it, when they open that present, they are the happpiest kid in the world.
What I DON’T believe in, is giving all the time, topping up iTunes accounts all the time, paying for mobile phones, and topping them up etc. The child must have a budget, and you must stick to it
Did you see I said YOU must stick to it? Kids can blow the allowance, and if you top it up all the time, they’ll never learn to budget, control spending, or impulse control. YOU are not helping them learn good habits.
If they blow their mobile credit and can’t text for 3 weeks, they will soon learn to prioritise, and be savvy. THAT’S a life skill worth having.
So treating is great, in moderation, and carefully considered. But remember, teaching you child the value of hard work, and the value of money is truely the best gift you can ever give them.