Boys and girls alike flock to malls after school. There's a lot that goes on here other than shopping. Malls are a huge social scene. They provide a colorful backdrop where tweens can hang out with friends or meet others their age. They window shop, catch movies and eat in the food court. You'll even spot them putting a few quarters into those souped-up massage chairs at health kiosks. And department store photography studios aren't just for family portraits! Tweens like to go with friends to get professional photos done, too.
Going to the mall doesn't have to be a budget-breaker where your tween is concerned. In fact, he or she can learn to spend an allowance wisely by looking for the best deal on a hat or piece of jewelry.
One last word about tweens and shopping malls: You can never be too careful when it comes to keeping an eye on your kid. A naïve or distracted child with a stuffed wallet is easy prey for unsavory characters, so escort your child to the mall or ensure she's going with a chaperone. You don't have to follow her from store to store, but you should be close by and ask her to check in with you every 45 minutes or so.