Helping your smart girl make the most of the school year isn’t always easy. This resource guide will help point you in the right direction when you are faced with a challenging situation.
From dealing with friend drama to struggling with math to adjusting to big life changes to experiencing big feelings to body curiosity and more. We’ve got you covered.
Bookmark this page and come back as often as you need. Use the list below jump to the content you need:
- For when your daughter is being bullied
- For when your daughter is the bully
- For when your daughter has special needs
- For when your daughter is having a hard time making friends
- For when your daughter has friend troubles
- For when your daughter is developing an interest in romantic relationships
- For when your daughter is curious about her body
- For when your daughter is struggling with reading
- For when your daughter hates math
- For when your daughter has a big test
- For when your daughter is experiencing big feelings
- For when your daughter is facing adversity
- For when your daughter needs encouragement
- For when your daughter is bored
- For when your daughter stays home alone
- For when your daughter is spending a lot of time on the internet or on social media
- For when your daughter is dealing with big life changes
For When Your Daughter is Being Bullied
Bullying is a serious issue that many kids face, and it may start younger than you’d imagined. It can take many forms, and sometimes it’s difficult to spot. With the prevalence of technology and social media in today’s kids’ hands, bullying often takes place in silence, and our girls may hurt in silence as well.
As parents, we must learn to see the signs if our daughters are being bullied. Then we need to know how to react; we need to understand how best to address the situation and our child’s turmoil and emotional wounds.
Advice for Bully-Proofing Your Child
Parents published this great article on how to spot bullying and how to deal with it. Most of the article focuses on teaching kids how to deal with bullying so that they don’t become targets for bullies, and they know how to react if they are.
Stomp Out Bullying
This site offers step-by-step instructions on what to do if your child is being bullied, plus more specific resources. It instructs you on how to approach the school, what to do if the problem isn’t handled well, and what kind of legal recourse may be available in dangerous situations.
If your child is having a hard time coping with the damage from bullies, seeking professional help may be a good idea. Your daughter’s school counselor is a great place to start, but you might also consider the services of a therapist or counselor. You can find professionals who specialize in working with kids here.
For When Your Daughter is the Bully
Bullying is such a hot button issue for parents today. We know to be on the lookout for signs of bullying, but it’s hard to swallow the idea that our daughter might be the bully.
If you suspect (or are certain) that your girl is being intentionally and repeatedly mean to a classmate or classmates, you might be unsure of how to deal. A little research and forethought can go a long way towards a resolution.
Understand Why Kids Bully
It’s important to understand that every kid is capable of bullying. And if the school approaches you with accusations that your child is bullying, it’s essential to keep a level head and listen. You can learn a little about why kids bully from Parents.com. It also offers steps you can take to address the problem.
For When Your Daughter has Special Needs
If your girl has special needs, parenting her through the school year can get even more complicated. Thankfully, there are tons of resources out there for helping you navigate special needs parenting.
IEP is an Individual Education Plan drawn out by educators and parents. IEPs are used when children learn differently and help them to succeed in an environment where they may struggle.
This Department of Education page contains links to just about everything you need to know when it comes to IEPs. Whether your daughter’s school is fantastic or lackluster at managing her educational needs, being an informed and proactive parent can go a long way when helping her achieve her potential.
You may also check out your state’s Department of Education page for state-specific resources.
Ultimate List of Special Needs Resources for Parents
This list is a GIANT list of over 100 resources for special needs parents. You’ll find associations, websites, financial aid information, and lots of other information to make parenting your special needs child easier.
Twice Exceptional Resources
When your daughter has both special needs and giftedness, it can be doubly complicated to get her the resources and the challenges she needs to reach her potential. The 2e Parent resource page is a great place to start exploring education options that are a better fit for your child.
For When Your Daughter is Having a Hard Time Making Friends
For some girls, making friends comes naturally. For others, not so much. The nature of our culture seems to make it harder for kids to find real friends. If your daughter has trouble making friends, the first thing you should know is that she’s not alone. The next thing you need to know is why friends are important. Then, you can get some help helping her to form wholesome relationships with peers.
Friendships are Important
This article from the Washington Post provides expert opinion and data on why kids need to make friends. Friendships help our girls develop social skills and emotional regulation that will serve them their whole lives through.
Teaching Girls to Make Friends
You can check out this great article from Parenting Science that has plenty of tips to help your daughter make friends.
Middle School Help
As kids get older, friendships tend to get more complicated. This slideshow teaches parents about the skills they can help their middle schooler develop so that making friends becomes more natural.
For When Your Daughter has Friend Troubles
Maybe your daughter isn’t having trouble making new friends, but she’s having problems with the friends she already has. This situation can make parents feel helpless.
When our girls’ friendships are under strain, it’s hard to know how to proceed. Here are some resources to help your daughter keep her relationships healthy. When you teach these skills, you can bet your smart girl will use them her whole life through.
Get Familiar with Common Friend Problems
It’s been a long time since we were kids, and a lot has changed. Learn about friend problems tweens are likely to face in this day and age with this list from VeryWell.
When Should Their Problems Become Your Problems?
We want our daughters to learn to navigate these relationships, so it can be challenging to know when it’s a good idea to step in. This article from Good Housekeeping has some great ideas on when and how you should take action when your child is having friend problems.
Getting Yoru Daughter to Open Up About Friend Troubles
It can be difficult to get our girls to talk to us about problems they’re having with friends, particularly as they get older. It’s natural for kids to become more private as they near maturity, but it can make it tough to help them through their problems when they don’t open up.
In this article published in Today’s Parent, author Claire Gagne helps parents learn some tricks for getting girls of all ages to open up so parents know what skills their daughters need when handling friend problems.
Helping Girls Learn Conflict Resolution
Here’s a great book to help your elementary-aged daughter learn conflict resolution: The Recess Queen by Alexis O’Neill. It’s cute and rhyme-y, but it also shows kids excellent coping skills.
For When Your Daughter is Developing an Interest in Romantic Relationships
As our girls get older, we sometimes begin to dread the idea that they’ll form romantic attachments. There are several reasons for reticence on parents’ part when it comes to crushes, boys, or other romantic issues where girls are concerned. Some examples are: how relationships can lead to heartbreak, how daughters growing up is difficult, the terrifying idea of sexual activity, and many more.
As the school year begins, our girls may have more access to boys and heaps of peer pressure to engage in relationships mount. It’s a perfect time to get yourself prepared for this type of scenario.
Learn What’s Normal
A lot of parents think their daughter is much too young for a crush, but that’s not the case. It’s healthy for kids to ‘pair up’ and model the adult relationships they see. Crushes are normal. You can check out this guide to your child’s first crush created by Parents.com to get ideas of what’s normal and how you should react so that you promote healthy ideas about relationships.
Setting the Stage to Talk to Your Girl About Relationships
You’ve ideally laid some serious groundwork by the time your daughter begins expressing her interest in romantic relationships. Hopefully, your daughter feels she can trust you enough to discuss relationships and ask questions. Our Sharing Journal: Journal Notebooks for Kids Parents: Creative Communication Prompts for Building Stronger Relationships Between A Parent and Child by M. Susan T. Whitehead can help you create a strong, open bond with your daughter.
Prepare for Hard, Uncomfortable Talks as Your Daughter Gets Older
It’s important to have age-appropriate talks about physical relationships. Keeping that line of communication open while your daughter is young (probably younger most parents think girls should be thinking about ‘real’ relationships) is critical to helping her stay safe and happy in relationships as she grows. This WebMD article on how to talk to your daughter about sex will have you prepared for when the day to have the talk comes.
If You Suspect Your Child is LGBTQ
Regardless of your views, people in this world treat people in the LGBTQ community is enough to cause any parent to pause. The University of Montana has a great resource to educate yourself and learn how to react so that you don’t hurt your child or your relationship with them.
For When Your Daughter is Curious About Her Body
Many new parents dread the day that they need to explain to the female body to their smart girls. A lot of moms have hang-ups when it comes to their bodies because, a generation or two ago, it was a shameful subject and something that wouldn’t be talked about openly.
Now, we know speaking openly with our daughters helps them learn to embrace and care for their bodies. Ideally, these talks start when our kids are young. Start talking to your child about her body when she’s a toddler or preschool-aged, it gives you time to get over the embarrassment and awkwardness so your daughter knows it’s okay to be open about our bodies.
Even when you start young, these conversations can be difficult to start (or even pick up when your girl sets you up perfectly to lay down some facts). There are tons of great books to help.
For Preschool-Aged Girls
Who Has What?: All About Girls’ Bodies and Boys’ Bodies by Robie H. Harris provides an excellent introduction into not only her body but what makes her body different from a boy’s, something that many kids in the 3-6 age group could use help with.
For Elementary-Aged Girls
You can start with the picture book Hair in Funny Places by Babette Cole. It uses lots of humor to help explain the changes to come, helping to break down some of the communication barriers parents and girls have on the subject of puberty.
For Tween Girls
Another great book for girls as they near menarche is The Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book for Younger Girls by Valerie Schafer. It provides a straightforward picture of puberty, reproduction, and how to care for a changing body.
For When Your Daughter is Struggling with Reading
For some girls, reading is just plain hard. It doesn’t come naturally, she doesn’t enjoy it, and that lack of passion for the written word can make it harder to get better at it. Reading is one area where practice does make perfect. Studies show that text for fun is fantastic for the brain; it helps develop not only reading skills but math and emotional skills, as well.
For some, reading is just plain hard, and that can make it less than enjoyable. If you can’t dive into the story, the text might seem like work. While audiobooks aren’t a perfect way to help your child read better, they may help impress upon her how wonderful books can be. Audible which is one of the most popular audiobook platforms has a free 30-day trial that gives you access to two free titles if you want to try it out.
Our Favorite Reading Apps
ReadingIQ is a great app to help kids learn to read. It does a fantastic job of meeting kids at their level and helping build skills from there. It walks your child through popular books, word by word if they need.
This list of the best reading apps of 2019 from Book Riot is also a great place to find fun, exciting apps you can download to help your daughter harness the power of tech to improve her reading skills.
Creating a Great Reading Space
One way to encourage reading is to create an irresistible reading space. A cozy nook might be all it takes to remind your daughter to crack a book, even when it isn’t her favorite thing in the world. Check out the top ideas on Pinterest for ideas on creating a great reading nook in your house.
For When Your Daughter Hates Math
Math is a scary subject for lots of girls (and their parents). There’s a pervasive view that math is hard and therefore intimidating.
Help Young Girls Start School Confident in their ability to do Math
Building up your daughter’s confidence before she even encounters that ‘math is hard’ mindset is a great way to prevent your daughter from developing that deep-seated hatred of math. Start them young, using several techniques to show them just how fun math can be. This list of math apps for preschoolers from Fatherly is a great place to start.
Offer Individualized Help
Zearn is a great program to provide your elementary-aged daughter with math lessons designed to help boost her skills and confidence. While it’s aimed at educators, you can speak with your daughter’s teacher about utilizing this excellent curriculum.
Make a Game of It
Mathopoly is a math-themed board game aimed at upper elementary and middle school kids. It’s perfect for helping girls practice their math skills while they’re having a good time with peers or parents.
For When Your Daughter Has a Big Test
Tests can cause a lot of anxiety in kids. It’s hard for them to grasp that, even if they don’t do as well as they’d hoped on an important test, the world will continue turning. Helping them prepare for these tests can help stave off that test anxiety by assisting them to feel more prepared and ultimately can help them perform better.
Turn Test Material into Interactive Study Material
Quizlet is a site that allows you to create customized study materials. You input the information your child needs to work on, and then your child can study using flashcards, study games, and other documents the site churns out.
Get Them Off to a Good Start
On test mornings, one way you can help your daughter start her day on a positive note is to provide a healthy breakfast. Any food with protein and healthy fats can help ward off a distracting grumbly tummy and fuel her brain. This roundup of protein-packed breakfasts is full of excellent pre-test breakfast foods. Try to avoid simple carbohydrates as they can leave kids feeling sleepy.
Help Girls Cope with Test Anxiety
Feeling anxious at the thought of taking a test is very common for kids and adults alike. This article, by the Child Mind Institute, can help identify the root of your child’s test anxiety and find some ways to deal with it so they can do their best and skip the worry.
For When Your Daughter is Experiencing Big Feelings
Some girls are more likely than others to be impacted by “big feelings.” This term is a broad one for extreme emotions. The added stress of the school year can bring them out, and the short periods we spend with our kids when they’re in school eight hours a day can make it challenging to find the time and energy to address these difficult emotions.
As parents, it’s our job to help our kids understand and deal with their big feelings. Sometimes they’re mad, sometimes they’re sad, and sometimes they’re incredibly excited. Here are some resources that might help you help your daughter.
Teach Your Daughter to Cope with Big Feelings
Big feelings can be hard for us parents to handle, so teaching our daughters to deal with them is an exceptional feat.
Books for Little Girls on Big Feelings
Llama Llama: Mad at Mama by Anna Dewdney follows a young llama who gets irritated at the world on a shopping outing and his mother, who tries to help him deal with his extreme emotions. It’s a great way to introduce the idea of big feelings and how to deal with them.
Books for Older Girls on Big Feelings
In another book produced by the American Girl company, The Feelings Book: The Care and Keeping of Your Emotions helps older elementary and tween girls recognize, own, and cope with their emotions.
For When Your Daughter is Facing Adversity
When life isn’t easy for our daughters, it can be hard for us. There are lots of challenges that come along with the start of the school year. As parents, it’s our job to prepare our girls to face adversity, to meet life’s challenges with confidence.
Learn About How Kids Can Face Adversity and Win
PsychCentral explains what it takes for kids to face adversity successfully. Read up on the research so that you can work to apply some of these tips to your parenting style.
Learning to Raise Resilient Kids
Many experts note that resilience is one of the keys to success and happiness for both kids and adults, so it makes sense that we’d want to instill it in our daughters, but how? The book Raising Resilient Children by Robert B. Brooks and Sam Goldstein is a great resource.
For When Your Daughter Needs Encouragement
Sometimes our girls need to hear that they’re great, that they can achieve their goals, that they can succeed. Sure, there’s research out there that shows empty praise is more harm than good, but the right kind of encouragement can go a long way, especially when our girls are feeling down on themselves.
Learn How Not to Praise
You must praise your girl the right way. Using the right words can make the difference between whether your praise builds your daughter up or breaks her down. Psychology Today gives some great ideas for praising well.
Ideas for Encouraging Quotes and Phrases
Sometimes we don’t have the right words to help our girls feel like they can take on the world, but the good news is that someone else probably already said it. Here’s a list of encouraging phrases in case you need some help.
Give Her a Confidence Boost
A more confident child won’t need so much of your encouragement. Alongside encouraging your daughter, here are some tips to help her build a solid base of confidence.
For When Your Daughter is Bored
Now that your girl is back to school, you hopefully hear less, “I’m booooored!” from her. However, it’s still bound to happen occasionally. Here are some ideas for keeping her busy without resorting to allowing her to binge-watch YouTube.
If your smart girl is bored out of her gourd, plan a sleepover! Better yet, have her plan her sleepover using this guide from KidzWorld. She learns important life skills and spends time in the planning: a double win.
Create Digital Art
Let your daughter check out the Teazel coloring app if she’s bored while you’re on the go. It’s filled with beautiful, intricate designs that even little kids can handle using the zoom feature.
Keep your girl’s hands busy with some cool crafts. The book Paper Craft Tutorials! By Professor Gusto is an excellent guide to lots of different kinds of papercrafts. It offers the bonus that most of the materials for items used in the book can already be found in your home.
Send Her Outside
When the weather is reasonable, you might consider sending your daughter outside when she’s bored. “What will I do out there, anyway?” she might ask. You can give her this list of ideas from OurPastimes.com.
For When Your Daughter Stays Home Alone
As our girls get older, we begin to wonder when they’ll be able to stay home alone. Ideas have changed over the past few decades, so what’s okay in these regards is sometimes questionable.
Learn the Laws About Leaving Kids Alone
The first thing you should probably consider when you’re thinking about leaving your daughter home alone is the law. Beyond basic guidelines, this state-by-state guide will help you learn what your state has to say on the subject.
You must make sure your child knows what’s expected of them while they’re home alone, the consequences if they don’t follow the rules and that they’re well-versed in the reasons behind the rules. You can set all this up in a behavior contract.
Present Safety Information in an Easy-to-Digest Form
Want to make sure your daughter is taking in the safety information you’re sharing about staying home alone? Try a video. This one features a sweet 90’s vibe that your daughter will likely find hilarious, but it’s chock full of all the info they need to know to stay safe at home.
For When Your Daughter is Spending time on Internet/Social Media
Our parents didn’t have to worry much about the internet. How much damage can we do with such limited connectivity and clunky desktop computers? Things have changed, though, and internet safety is a big deal for our daughters.
The internet has a lot to offer our kids, but there are a lot of potential downsides, too. The sheer volume of content, different apps, and the ever-changing nature of this technology make it a tricky topic for parents.
What are Kids Up to On the Internet?
There are always new apps, and social media platforms developed, many of them you likely wouldn’t approve of. The problem is that sometimes parents don’t realize what the apps and sites their kids are using are capable of. Here’s a list of apps parents should know about but know that this is by no means comprehensive. Parents should work to keep up with technology and trends to understand what our kids are doing on the internet.
KidsHealth.org has a great resource to help parents learn about internet safety. It discusses laws, suggested guidelines for internet use, tools to protect your child while they are online.
Screen Time Recommendations
The AAP has some pretty strong opinions on how much screen time kids should be getting. Internet and gaming addictions are very real and becoming more common, and these recommendations aim to reduce the negative impacts of device use on children and teens.
Monitoring Internet and Mobile Device Use
Tons of software programs and apps can help you monitor what your child is doing on the computer or other devices. Here’s a list of the best parental control apps of 2019. There are so many options that you’ll surely be able to find one that fits your family’s needs.
Most devices these days have some form of built-in parental controls. Whether you’re talking tablets, gaming consoles, phones, specific apps, or even your internet router. Here are some instructions for setting up a few different parental control options.
Social media has changed the way our kids communicate, and while some parents opt not to allow their tweens access to social media, that’s not always practical. Though many social media platforms have age limits, plenty of kids have accounts anyways. The AAP has an excellent report on how to cope with kids’ social media use.
For When Your Daughter is Dealing with Big Life Changes
Change is hard for adults, let alone kids. When our daughters are going through significant life changes, those changes are often not in their control at all, which makes them even more challenging. Here are some resources for some of the most common life changes kids deal with.
Moving can be hard on kids, but it’s not always unavoidable. It might even be a positive thing if you’re moving for a better job, to an area with better schools, or an area with a lower crime rate. That doesn’t make it easy. Here’s a great resource to help kids cope with moving to a new place.
Divorce is hard on the whole family. It comes along with lots of other changes much of the time. There are tons of resources out there to help you help kids through this difficult time. Here is a quick guide on helping kids with divorce and a great book list with resources, as well.
Everybody loves babies. Not always their siblings. The New Baby by Mercer Mayer features Little Critter, a cute little fuzzy guy, who is getting a new sibling. It’s a great way to show kids what to expect, and it’s even got a little humor to make the prospect more entertaining.
Helping our daughters deal with the end of a loved one’s life can be difficult. Especially for young children who are still learning to cope with big feelings. This guide can help prepare you for supporting your child through the loss of a loved one.