Running Errands Together
If your tween wants to stay at home and complains when forced to go on an errand with you, see what happens if you leave her siblings behind. There's a good chance she'll be much more amenable to a trip to the grocery store or bank if she gets to have you all to herself.
A Time to Chat
Turn the radio off when you are in the car so you can chat en route to school, the grocery store — wherever. Rather than asking questions to try to get your silent tween to talk to you, share what's going on at your work, relate something you read in the paper that interested you, mention that you need to get the refrigerator fixed, discuss your plans to mow the lawn this weekend. In short, talk about anything!
Don't underestimate how important it is for your tween to hear you relate the trivia of your life. As you remind yourself to pick up the special ingredient you need to make spaghetti, your tween learns that spaghetti contains that ingredient. As you debate whether to make a pizza from scratch, pick up a ready-made one in the freezer section of the grocery store, or stop by a fast-food restaurant to buy one, she learns about the tradeoffs of cost and convenience.
As you ponder aloud whether to try to get someone out to repair the refrigerator or break down and buy a new one, she learns what factors to consider in making this kind of decision. By letting your child hear what you think about and how you make decisions, you are preparing her to be an adult.
Never criticize your tween in public. If she makes a mistake, don't jump in and make a correction. Say to your daughter, “Excuse me, but I thought we decided to get six bagels and a dozen croissants, not a dozen bagels and six croissants.” Then let your daughter straighten it out with the clerk.
A Helping Hand
Insist that your tween accompany you on errands, and make it a habit to involve her fully. Consult her about what to fix for dinner and have her help you plan menus when you shop for groceries. At the gas station let her pump gas while you clean the windshield or vice versa, and let her pay for the gas. At the bank, have her fill out the deposit or withdrawal slip before you sign it. Have her tell the postal clerk how many stamps you need and in what denominations. At the dry cleaner, have her announce whether starch is needed, give her name and phone number, and write the check so all you have to do is sign it.