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Tackling Back to School with Tweens

by Lori Sciame | July 31st, 2014 | School, Tweens

classroom-379214_640Every stage of human development has its own unique characteristics, the tween years included. For instance, these young people struggle with emerging independence, as well as changing bodies.  For them, being a tween is both a scary and an exciting time.  As a parent, you can help your tween navigate these tumultuous years, especially when it relates to school.  With back to school just around the corner, keep the following tips in mind.

1.  Accept the fact your baby is growing up.

Some parents find it difficult to acknowledge a child is growing up.  Instead of providing the support a tween needs, they choose to bury their heads in the sand.  Children this age need correct information on changes in the body due to puberty.  They don’t need a parent who still sees them as preschoolers.

Be proactive instead.  Provide education on what changes to expect in his or her body, and have needed supplies on hand: deodorant, pads, tampons, and plenty of shampoo!

Since your tween will be heading back to school, address these concerns now.  It’s better to let a girl know that her first period may come unexpectedly at school than for her to be blindsided!

2.  Make homework a priority.

Teachers lament that fact that once children reach the ages of 10, 11, and 12, many parents become lax about homework.  Instead of assuming a tween should be able to manage homework on his or her own, continue to be aware of school expectations.  Make an effort to teach time management skills, and be available for advice on assignments.  Even if you don’t know HOW to help your child with a particular project, just being there promotes the idea that education is important.

3.  Promote healthy habits.

Going to school (and doing well) requires good health.  A child who does not eat right and who does not get enough sleep will not do as well as those who do.  For this reason, teach your child about proper nutrition, including limiting sweets.  Also, enforce bedtimes – even for tweens.  If given the choice, a tween will stay up as long as possible; therefore, he or she should not have a choice.

Other habits to promote:  brushing teeth, flossing, regular baths/showers, clean nails, and proper skin care to prevent acne.

4.  Maintain a close relationship.

Although they might not act like it, tweens need mom and dad as much as they always have!  Sure, a tween may be moody, yet that’s to be expected because of raging hormones.

So, don’t let a tween’s behavior fool you into thinking you no longer matter. On the contrary, cultivate your relationship.  And, instead of demanding a child to talk to you about his or her day at school, be prepared to WAIT until he or she decides to open up to you.

*Warning – As children age, they often want to talk at the most inconvenient times.  Instead of allowing this to become a frustration, take a deep breath and listen; your tween will be an adult before you know it!

  1. Michele says:

    I love your note about tweens talking about inconvenient times! I agree that it is so important to make time for them as much as possible. I have tried to be available for my children, putting other things on hold, which has helped me maintain close and honest relationships with them now that they are older teens.

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