I remember exactly when it happened: The day my daughter traded in her backpack for a purse. As an asthmatic kid with food allergies, she always carried her own backpack to keep her asthma pump and epi-pen close.
Right as she was entering her tween years, she walked up to me one day and asked, “Mom, may I have a purse?” And not a play purse with the pretend makeup and toy flip-phone… but a real purse to wear with her looks. This came as no surprise to me because the kid is serious about her outfits. Of course, I said yes and when she came home from school, she had her first real big girl baguette bag waiting for her.
As time passed, I quickly realized that the kid has no idea what to keep in that thing. It felt like it was completely filled with everything under the sun — yet nothing she needed. Have you ever peeked inside a tween girl’s purse? If I needed a Hello Kitty action figure, she had me covered… but a tissue? Forget about it.
If your tween is anything like mine, here’s a quick guide of purse essentials (in no particular order) that every tween girl should keep on hand. With the holidays right around the corner, this guide can always double as great stocking stuffer ideas!
Cash. While cards and Apple Pay are always great options, she should always keep a little cash on hand in case of emergencies. Phones die and machines crash.
Identification. While she may be too young for a driver’s license and may not have a state-issued ID just yet, the school ID works just fine.
Wallet. Wallets are a great way to keep cards, ID, money, and change organized.
Lip balm or lip gloss. No one likes chapped lips.
Makeup. If she is at that stage in life, provide the essentials for quick touch-ups. But no need to bring the entire makeup routine.
Mini brush or comb. Like makeup, bringing a small brush or comb can help with touch-ups throughout the day.
Hair ties. Toss a few extras in for emergencies.
Small make-up bag. She can use this bag to put everything in for easy access.
Gum or mints. Fresh breath never goes out of style.
Compact mirror. Whether fixing hair, touching up make-up, or just wanting to make sure she’s looking her best, a mirror is always great to have.
Hand lotion. Lotion is probably one of the main things my kid needs when we are out, especially as the weather gets colder.
Mini hand sanitizer. Hands come in contact with so much during the day, and in this day and age, making sure hands are clean is extremely important.
Tissues. A mini bag of tissue is always great to have on hand. There’s nothing worse than a surprise sneeze and no way to clean it up.
Portable phone charger. There is nothing more inconvenient than the phone dying when out and about.
Sanitary pads. Periods can be unpredictable. Always be prepared.
Mini perfume or body spray. You never know when an extra spray of smell good will be needed.
Keys. If she has a key to the house, put it on a key ring and slip into her purse. My daughter is obsessed with Hello Kitty, so when we had her house key made, we got her a Hello Kitty key from Walmart (makes a great gift, just saying).
Glasses case. Keep those glasses or sunglasses protected when they aren’t being worn.
Contact lens case. If she wears contact lenses, don’t forget the case.
Pen. Keep something to write on hand at all times.
Mini journal or notebook. Just in case she needs something to write on.
AirPods/airpod case. Don’t forget to include whatever form of earphones she uses.
Coin purse. If she doesn’t keep coins in her wallet, get a separate small coin purse to keep them in so they don’t clutter.
Sanitizer wipes. It’s important to build healthy habits.
Any medical emergency items. For example, if asthmatic, include an asthma pump.
A woman’s purse is personal and should reflect her needs. Some of these purse essentials may not be as important or needed as others, and that’s fine. There may always be items that aren’t even listed that are a must-have. Those are the things that she should keep in her purse.
Here is a little tip for the parents. Try to grab many of these purse essentials in your tween’s favorite color or even their favorite characters. By doing this, you can ensure all essentials, turned stocking stuffers, will be personalized to your tween and their interest. Also, the travel section in stores is a great way to get your hands on some good minis, which are the perfect size for purses!