5 Things Your Tween Won't Tell You

School can be overwhelming.

The middle school years bring a lot of changes to a kid's daily routines. Your child may have five to eight different subjects taught by just as many different teachers, plus an extracurricular activity or two. Imagine having that many jobs with an equal number of bosses! Assignments are all different, deadlines vary, and it takes excellent organization skills to keep up with all that's required.

So if the boy who made straight As in sixth grade is suddenly struggling to turn in assignments on time or bombs a test he says he forgot, the problem may not be forgetfulness, ambivalence, or defiance. He may be having trouble staying organized. Add that to the flurry of hormones flying around an average tween's body and it's no wonder book reports get overlooked.

As a parent, how can you help? Check online class calendars regularly and stay in touch with teachers to make sure you're on top of major assignments and tests. Sit down with your child and show him or her how to use a paper or electronic calendar to stay organized. Help your tween create "to-do" lists and mark off tasks as they're completed. Good organizational habits and personal responsibility are essential life skills that will serve your child well in middle school -- and beyond.

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