I have already opened an account for my child to deposit cash birthday presents from relatives. The default credit union account has a savings account and a checking account. I could also add an overdraft line of credit or a credit card to that same account at no additional cost, and there is no penalty for never using those credit lines. When that child gets older I could have that child cosign on a vehicle loan and pay it for 6 months before paying the balance in full, or I could add the child to a HELOC with a very low limit. What are the best ways to establish the credit now--when I'm in the driver's seat as it were--so that it will be less likely for me to be asked to cosign on loans later?
Obviously all of these actions would involve discussions about credit and finance, so that when it's time to fly solo, that child will have enough knowledge to make good decisions. This is not a parenting question, I don't care whether you think it is a good idea to do this from a parenting perspective. I only care about how to best accomplish the goals outlined above, from a personal finance perspective.
Edit: I have found many institutions will allow joint ownership of accounts between parents and children, and that a credit history can be established through this mechanism before the age of 18.
Some years ago when I went through this process myself, I was in the unfortunate position of not being able to obtain financial aid to attend school because my father made too much for me to qualify. He had too many of his own financial obligations to actually contribute financially to that effort (we lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, and the high salary was offset by an even higher cost of living). I had to work to pay for my school. This required 80+ hours each week for those combined efforts. My parents didn't have a vehicle to lend, so I had to purchase and insure my own vehicle as well (public transit would have cost another 4 hours of each day between home school and work).
I'm glad I was forced to complete my education without loans, but I could have worked fewer hours if I could have obtained credit on better terms. You can opine all day about whether a child needs a credit history. That's not the topic of this question. I managed fine under the circumstances. I didn't need a good credit history in order to make it work. It would have been a benefit, and it certainly would not have hurt me. I don't care if this is a new idea that rubs you the wrong way. The question is not should I or can I, the question is what is the best way?