I have 2 daughters. They are the light of my life. But, my oldest just turned 10, so I think that means she’s officially a “tween” now. (That doesn’t change how I feel about her, but it does make me a little nervous for the next few years!)
So, what is a “tween”? That’s a great question. I spent some time browsing around the web reading various definitions of Tween.
As you might have guessed, it’s a “new” word. It’s popularity skyrocketed in the 2000s, but from what I’ve read people have been using it to refer to older kids/not-quite-teenagers since the late 1980s.
(I’m sure my parents never used the word tween when referring to me and my friends – and we were tweens in 1990!)
The easy definition of Tween is a child (usually a girl) between the ages of 10 and 12. Some go as far as 9 to 14. A few definitions say “too old for toys, too young for boys.” I don’t like that add-on. My 10 year old loves her toys and has had boys for friends her entire life.
But I do see some changes coming in Emma, my now-10 year old.
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A few indicators that you may have a Tween
Hair and Fashion
My tween is starting to put more time into her appearance. Every morning she asks what she should do with her hair. And then every day it goes in a pony tail.
(We still worry about head lice – we’ve had 2 notes home from school about it already this year, and it’s only October!)
I also see Emma’s fashion sense developing. I’m pretty sure I don’t have any fashion sense, so I won’t be guiding her along, besides ensuring she’s dressed properly for the weather!
While (thankfully) we haven’t seemed to start puberty yet, the need for conversations is here. I’ve been open with my girls for their entire lives so far, so I’m hopeful they will come to me with questions about their bodies or anything else that’s concerning them during their puberty years.
We got Emma a book, Girl Stuff, which she seems to be enjoying. It’s a run down of all things puberty related. I took a good look through it and I like it’s layout and conversational tone.
There are some girls in Emma’s grade who have started developing already. I wasn’t an early bloomer, so hopefully Emma will still have a year or two without having to worry about all the “woman stuff!”
Leisure Time Activities
Emma, my tween, still loves playing with toys. Dolls, Barbie/Monster High, Playmobil, LEGO, it’s all still fun and exciting for her.
I do see her often choosing to read quietly in her room – especially after she’s been playing with Rose (little sister) for a while and just can’t take it anymore. She totally gets that from me.
Playing outside is still fun – park, swings, catching bugs and helping in the garden. This past summer I noticed her spending a little more time lounging around the pool on her towel and little less time “playing” in the pool with her sister and little cousins. A sign of things to come?
Emma has already been relied on to watch her younger cousins for a few short spans of time. She loves it – and will often step in even when adults are around.
Now we are at the point we can leave the girls home for a few minutes on their own if we need to. (This doesn’t happen often, but it’s nice to know the option is there!)
Other independent tasks Emma does completely on her own: showering, and successfully washing and rinsing her hair; basic cooking; cleaning her room without being hounded to do so; managing her own library card and account; working on homework by herself – sometimes while at after school care; and other household chores (dishes, garbage/recycling, and basic helping out.)
We must be doing something right.
In another year I will be comfortable leaving Emma and Rose home alone. They will be able to get a snack, and do their homework after school. Eventually they will be in charge of starting dinner!
Emma is pretty responsible right now. I hope that doesn’t fall off as she approaches the teen years. And she’s a pretty decent role model for Rose, who still overreacts to everything. (She’s a good helper as well, and is also a self starter wanting to learn and take on new responsibilities around the house.)
Do you have a tween? Have you noticed changes in their behavior or bodies? I’d love to hear about it. Share your life lessons in the comments, so I’m ready for anything!
Emma is also interested in acting and modelling – so much so that she has a page on my website: Emma Foley. If you are looking for a young model or background actor, Emma is up for it!