Students and parents alike fear the transition to middle school. Here are a few tips to ease the transition and prepare your student to succeed in middle school.
1) Be positive. Yes, there will be lots of changes, but it means your child is growing up and becoming independent. Focus on the positive and help your child have a good attitude and outlook towards middle school. Your attitude sets the tone of your home.
2) Talk about it. Ask your child questions. Do they have any fears or concerns? Find out what those are and address those specific fears. Knowledge of what to expect eases fear of the unknown.
3) Check out the school website with your student. There is a lot of information on the school website.
4) Attend orientation and open house with your student. Take a tour of the building. Find out where the cafeteria, office, gym, etc. are located. Make it a group tour by bringing their friends and their parents along. Shared memories build friendships.
5) Reassure your student that every other student will be experiencing the same feelings and emotions at the start of the new school year. “You are not alone.”
6) Equip them to begin to handle issues on their own. Remind them to ask questions and go to the teacher or school counselor for help, if needed. Remind them that you will be available to them at any time.
7) Help your child develop their social skills. Role play how to introduce yourself to new people. Talk about what it means to be a friend and how to treat people with respect.
8) Encourage them to get involved in clubs, sports, youth group, volunteering, etc. They will build friendships and gain social skills through their involvement.
9) Teach them to be organized and write down their assignments and test dates for each class. This is one of the best tools you can give them and they will use it throughout their lives.
10) Help them develop good study skills. Do they need extra help? Find a tutor or call the school homework line for help. Ask them, “How can I help?”
11) Ensure your child has the supplies and tools necessary for academic success. Help them come to class prepared to work.
12) Talk about bullying and what to do about it. There are books and resources to teach children about bullying. Check these out and read them together. Teach them to walk away from people who would tear them down. Not everyone will like them, and that is okay. Give them resources and skills to deal with difficult people.
13) Talk about the physical changes they will experience as they go through puberty. Please don’t leave this up to the school to teach your child or just ignore the topic all together. Talk about these changes with your child. Make sure they know they can talk to you about anything. Teach them about modesty and treating your body with respect.
14) Teach them cell phone/internet etiquette. Remind them that things posted online or sent in a text can last forever and be forwarded on to many people. Keep private things private. Teach them to NEVER post or forward inappropriate pictures of themselves or others.
15) Ensure your child gets the needed rest to be able to do well in school. Children need a lot of sleep. Set a bedtime and enforce it. Your child’s teachers will thank you. Your students grades will improve along with their attitude when they are getting enough sleep.
16) No cell phones at night. Cell phones should be recharged at night in mom and dad’s bedroom. No child needs to be texting or on the phone after bedtime.