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Q. My child is beginning middle school and I'm not sure what I should do. Are there ways I can help him adjust?
A. If possible, request a tour of the school (even if he's already had the official orientation) so he'll feel more certain he can navigate the new facility and can practice using his locker, says Michele Borba, Ed.D., author of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions (Jossey-Bass). If you can't get into the building, see if the school has a virtual tour at least. Avoid morning confusion—and those awful last-minute searches—by setting up an area near the door for his backpack, gym clothes, musical instruments, etc. For the first three weeks of school, keep outside activities to a minimum. And while it may feel just too painful for you to wake up 20 minutes before the family, the payoff for the head start could be getting your son out the door without a whole lot of tension.