Age 11

It’s complicated.

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Eleven! You have a great kid who’s young enough to still take your advice on *almost* everything, and old enough to know how to roll their eyes. At this age, you may feel heightened pressure to complete your kid’s transformation into the perfect human. It may feel like a good time to suggest your child start donating part of their allowance, to transform them into considerate, generous people. 

Before they start giving money away, take a moment to consider the full picture.  

Start Here.

A lot of us have been taught that allowance should be divided in three ways: a percentage to save, a percentage to spend, and a percentage to share. 

Encouraging generosity in your 11-year-old is important. If you’ve got a child who wants to give part of their allowance to a friend at school who doesn’t have money for lunch, then you’ve definitely done something right. It’s good to give, but it’s best to give when you have something to give. 

If your child gives their lunch money to someone and no longer has money for their own lunch, then we have a problem. 

While financial generosity is important, being generous with time may still be more valuable to development at this stage. We’ve always said that your child’s most powerful financial asset is time. Help them share their time, while whatever money they have continues to grow in the background. 

Keep Going.

Volunteering helps your child build new skills, confidence, and a sense of pride in being part of a community. It can also teach them valuable lessons about empathy, business, teamwork, and life.

(Bonus: Volunteering by teens has also been linked to more volunteering in adulthood and a greater sense of well-being, better work opportunities, and more education than for teens who didn’t volunteer.)

Get This.

Have your 11-year-old do some research to build a list of organizations they might like to support.,, and are resources full of trusted organizations and opportunities. 

Maybe you’d like to find a once weekly or monthly opportunity to make volunteering part of your family’s routine.

From here, your job is to treat this kind of service as a regular, nbd thing. You may feel proud of your kid for the choices they’re making, but loading them up with praise will turn something that should be a natural part of life into something that feels extraordinary. Your kid is extraordinary. Let volunteering and service be the one ordinary thing about them.