You might think this list would be compiled of back to school shopping items or handy gadgets, but we think these points are way more effective for her personal success.
1. A self esteem boost. Tell her how proud you are of her and how much you believe in her. Let her throw a back-to-school party with all of her friends and show her how great the year is going to be.
2. An understanding of her abilities. Invest in something like a Myers-Briggs personality assessment (there are plenty of free online links or “dummy” versions) or a strengths finder book or course so that she can work to improve her weaknesses and grow her strengths. Have her meet with someone who is similar to her and successful. Buy a biography of a famous person with her same personality type to help her understand her tendencies and give her personal insight.
3. A positive attitude. Does she hate school? Have you recently moved to a new school district? Plan ahead and post positive affirmations on her mirror, on her door, in her backpack or purse for her to discover throughout her first day. Another idea is to invest in counseling! We all come to the reality that most times we will not be the person to whom our child wants to tell everything. Meeting with a counselor can offer an opportunity to verbally process all that is going on (especially during those tense, puberty-filled middle school years).
4. Goals and vision. Does she have a swimming record she wants to break this year? Come up with a tangible way she can track progress. Pennies in a jar, a board on the wall for race times, whatever works!
5. A killer wardrobe. Not because she needs to feel accepted, but because she needs to love herself and feel comfortable in her skin. As women, I think we all understand how feeling good in your clothes is a confidence booster. Get her (properly) sized for a new bra. Let her splurge on that pair of skinny jeans she’s been eyeing. Have her read The Best Style Advice I Ever Received first. Don’t break the bank, but make a memory. It also helps to mention that she looks far better than you did in those purple velvet pants you wore every day of seventh grade.
Don’t break the bank, but make a memory.
6. Support on all sides. Plan a family meal the first week of school. Have her siblings encourage her and say one kind thing about her. Have grandparents write her letters of encouragement. Ensure that both mom and dad are speaking truth—no negativity as she starts the year. Do you know you can write to your local politicians and even the president requesting a letter for your child? Hey, maybe even tweet at her favorite celebrity and wait to see if you receive an encouraging message!
7. Belief in herself. Remind her of past accomplishments. Show her ways she has pushed through in the past. Remind her that she is unique and talented aside from her friends, boyfriend, and peers. Spend a day with her enjoying what she enjoys, whether it is museums or a game of scrabble. Let her know that she is smart and speak life into her by sharing all of the wonderful traits you see in her. Let her know that she is more than her Instagram feed or what people think of her on Facebook.
Give your daughter all of these things and she will be ready and prepared to take on the school year with grit and grace, whether she’s a preteen navigating those awkward braces, new boobs, and middle school years or wading through the intense, high school drama-filled years. When she’s older, she’ll thank you for preparing her in the best way possible—showing her that you love her and are fighting for her highest possible good.
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