Where did the summer go? Over the next few weeks, families across the country will be gearing up for back to school. This transition can be both exciting and stressful for tweens and parents alike. Here are some tips for helping your daughter ease into the new routine.

Schedule routine medical, eye, and dentist appointments before the school year starts. If your tween is involved in sports, make sure you’ve completed any medical forms required to participate. It’s no fun to sit out the first practice because Mom forgot to get the doctor’s signature!

Read all information sent from school to make sure no important details are missed. Attend any orientation events offered—especially if your tween is transitioning to a new middle school building or wing. These meetings give the family a chance to get comfortable with their new environment.

Buy school supplies early, before they’re picked over. If your tween’s school has a dress code, take time to buy new clothes when you’re not in a rush. Consider making school shopping a special event by taking your tween out for a one-on-one shopping date with Mom or Dad.

Reunite your tween’s school friends for a special outing or “back to school” gathering at your house. This is especially helpful if your daughter has not seen her friends on a regular basis over the summer. Getting reacquainted with peers before the first day of school will help her feel more welcome when she walks through the doors.

Gradually transition your child’s schedule and activities back to school mode. Cut back on TV or mobile screen time and encourage more reading. If your tween’s sleep patterns shifted to late nights and lazy mornings in summer, set the alarm clock a few days before school begins, gradually shifting it back to a school-day wake time.

Prepare and freeze some meals ahead of time. Invite your tween to help! During the first busy days of the new school routine, you’ll be grateful for a quick and easy family dinner.

Talk with your tween about any concerns or fears she’s experiencing. Ensure her you are a safe place to confide. Remind her that God goes with her to school and He will help her face any challenges.

Finally, take pictures! These days go by so fast. Commemorate each new school year with photos that last well beyond the tween years.

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)