by Nikki Ducas

It’s the dog days of summer and my little one is moping around proclaiming, “I’m bored!” I get it. He’s out of his daily school and other extracurricular routines and there is just so much time in this momma’s day to just play. Cue your tween.

They’re old enough for responsibility, but not old enough for a part-time job at the mall. Use tweens as a Mother’s Helper. They can be an extra set of eyes and a playmate to younger kiddos while you’re tending to something else.
Tweens may think they are too cool to play with their younger siblings, or the little kids in the cul-de-sac, so shake things up and offer them a monetary incentive to get them (and the little kids) off the couch and away from electronics for a few hours.

piggyback rideIt’s amazing how far the thought of making a few dollars will go with my tween. As a bonus, he gets paid to play, his little brother thinks he is the coolest for doing what he wants to do for a change, and I get to check things off of my to-do list. Everyone wins.

Here are some fun places in the Fredericksburg area where you can take your kids on the cheap so your tweens entertain your younger kids while you enjoy a little mom time on the sidelines:

  • Roller skating on dollar night at Cavalier
  • Bowling on $2 Tuesdays at Splitsville
  • Playing Frisbee Golf at Loriella Park
  • Hiking at Government Island
  • Miniature golf or climbing at Funland
  • Identifying animals at a pet store
  • Imaginative play at the Children’s Museum
  • Storytime and hands-on events at the library
  • Going to a park to climb, swing and kick the ball around

Your tween can also mentor younger kids during the summer. Here are a few examples:

  • Pen Pal program for 6-11 year olds to partner with middle school students to help improve writing skills during summer vacation.
  • Tweens can be a buddy to a younger kid at TOPSoccer for a couple hours on Saturday mornings.
  • S.O.D.A. (Student Organization for Developing Attitudes) is a mentoring program that helps sixth grade students adjust to everyday skills necessary to be successful in today’s world and provides fourth grade students character building lessons.

Giving tweens added responsibility is another important next step into the teenage years. Tweens seek opportunities to make their own money, and it’s a learning opportunity for them. By paying a tween to play with younger kiddos, it not only helps you, but those few dollars are also a lesson in financial responsibility and independence. Another win!