It is a time to carve out an identity, stretch boundaries, and meet new people. Starting middle school can be both exciting and intimidating for both kids and parents.
Leaving their close knit elementary school can make even the most confident kids uneasy and nervous. The first few weeks of school will be filled with navigating a new strange territory while meeting new classmates coming from different elementary schools.
Organization is another huge issue for middle school students. Suddenly, they are thrust into a situation where they need to juggle changing classrooms, a varied schedule, locker combinations, and more freedom. Between homework and after school activities, you may need to help your child brush up on their basic organizational skills.
In order to prepare for the big day, parents can help boost their child's self-confidence and ready them for the added responsibilities by following a few of the following steps.
Tips For Helping Your Middle School Student Succeed
Bring your child to orientation. Most middle schools offer an orientation for incoming students and their parents. If your school does not have orientation or you cannot attend, bring your child for a tour of the school so they can become familiar with where the bathrooms, cafeteria, gym and classrooms are. Bring along their schedule so you can do a dry run before the first day. Many students feel less stress and anxiety when they have been able to tour the building. If your child has never used a combination lock, have them practice on one at home or see if the school will let you come in to try out the lockers before the start of the school year.
Locate a supply list. Most teachers post their lists on the school's website. A prepared student is a confident student.
Organize a place for homework. Set up a desk or workspace for your child. Provide them with a copy of their schedule and a calendar or dry erase board to keep track of their assignments. A simple daily planner will help manage the load. Stock up on extra supplies so you don't find yourself running out at the last minute.
During the transition from elementary school to middle school start to take on more of a supporting role. While staying involved in your child's academic and social life, promote their independence. Encourage your child to meet academic standards, but emphasize self-sufficiency. Instead of always speaking for your child, empower them to initiate conversations with their teachers and school administrators.
If you have any major concerns about your child’s transition to middle school, contact your school's social worker, psychologist or guidance counselor.
Providing opportunities for your child to be responsible during their middle school years will enable an exciting academic and social transformation. Remember as they achieve independence and reach new milestones, some of the greatest lessons learned will result from failures. Witnessing your child's growth and blossoming maturity can be very rewarding.