Dear American Girl,

Not too long ago, my dad got married. My new stepmom is very nice, and I want us to have a great relationship. What can I do to get closer with my stepmom?
-The next step

Here's your advice:

It's great that you want to be closer with your stepmom. Start out with little things, such as asking her what you should wear or if she wants to paint nails with you. Work your way up to sharing problems with her and asking her for advice. You could start to feel closer with your stepmom soon.
-Natalie, age 11, Illinois

Remember to be natural around your stepmom. Don't try to be someone you're not just to impress her or make her like you more. She will love you for who you are.
-Allison, age 12, Kansas

Strike up conversations with your stepmom. If she asks, "How was school?" don't just say, "Good." Tell her about your day, and ask her how her day went, too.
-Anna, age 10, Maryland

Plan a day for the two of you to spend time together. Go to lunch and see a movie or go shopping and grab ice cream cones. Even just staying home and doing something relaxing can bring you closer together.
-Lydia, age 11, Kansas

Ask your stepmom to help you with your schoolwork, such as working on a math assignment or preparing for a big test. It might be a great way to bond.
-Sarah, age 9, Maryland

Think of a project that you and your stepmom could work on together, such as creating a family scrapbook or trying recipes from a new cookbook.
-Kia, age 11, Maryland

Write a story with your stepmom. Think of a subject that you both are interested in and write about it. As you two share ideas and write together, you'll learn more about each other, too.
-Callie, age 10, New Hampshire

Organize a family activity, such as going to a pumpkin patch or visiting a cool museum. Spending time together as a family can strengthen your bonds.
-Nicole, age 11, Massachusetts

Leave her little notes in places where she'll find them. Write things such as "Have a great day!" or "Dinner was good last night. Thank you!"
-Cathey, age 12, Florida

Plan a sleepover with your stepmom. Watch favorite movies and eat popcorn. A sleepover is a fun way to get closer with anyone, and it can work with your stepmom, too.
-Hana, age 11, California

Try to spend 30 minutes a day with your stepmom. Talk about your days, make dinner together, or play a quick game. Sharing even a little time together, when done regularly, can add up to a better relationship.
-Megan, age 9, Maryland

You could show your stepmom how much you appreciate her. Make her breakfast in bed, give her a card, or make her a gift. It'll show her that you care.
-Abby, age 11, Kentucky

When you sit down to dinner, use that time to get to know your stepmom better. Ask her about her hobbies and interests, and maybe you'll find out that you have something in common with her. It's a good place to start.
-An American Girl fan, age 12, New Hampshire

I have a stepmom, too. We have our ups and downs, but we just calmly talk things out. We're honest with one another, and that's a good base for a relationship.
-Bryannah, age 11, Massachusetts

My stepmother is a veterinarian. I want to be a vet when I grow up, so she's teaching me how to care for animals someday. Last year, when she became my stepmom, I was afraid she would be a bad stepmother, like in the movies. But once I got to know her, we became great friends. Teach your stepmom something new, and ask her teach you something, too. Learning from each other could strengthen your relationship.
-Autumn, age 11, Texas

Past Help from You
School Smarts
Family Matters
The Care and Keeping of Friends
The Care and Keeping of You
I'm Scared
More Advice From You