Preparing your child for the transition from elementary school to middle school can be an exhausting process. Preparing your child for the expected can help lesson their nervousness and anxiety about attending a new school. Jennifer Lunder’s, article, How to Survive Your Tween’s Transition to Middle School, offers helpful suggestions that can help make the transition to middle school a smoother one.
1. Help them find their locker - Ensure that your child is aware of where their locker is located in their school. If possible, have them visit the school before hand to become aware of its location. You may also find it helpful to have them practice opening and closing their lock.
2. Keep them organized - Studies suggest that children who are organized are likely to perform better academically than those who kept incomplete notes and misplaced homework. Lunder suggests that parents take an active role in helping their child stay organized and on track. This may mean frequent binder checks and overseeing notebook completion.
3. Plot out their days – Most middle schools children experience difficulties finding their classes. You could assist them by visiting the school before hand or drawing a map of each classroom location. Some students find it helpful to attach their schedule to the back of their agenda.
4. Write in an agenda – An agenda can help keep your child stay organized. Lunder suggests that parents encourage their children to carefully write down all of their assignments in a daily planner. Schools may post information about homework online. Your child may find it helpful to compare their agenda with what’s being posted online by the school faculty. Stay involved by monitoring your child’s agenda.
5. Check in with them – If you’re noticing that your child is struggling, don’t hesitate to talk to them about any concerns you may have. The author suggests that during this time children often believe that they should handle their struggles on their own. Checking in with them every so often can help invite them to open up and share their experiences. Parents may also find it helpful to remain engaged with the their classroom teachers, guidance counsellors, and coaches.
6. Adjusting to new friends – Lunder states, “in middle school tweens begin to try on labels in an effort to define individual identity. As a parent your role becomes less active.” You may not be able to sort out social inclusion situations for your child, but you can provide support by attentively listening, speaking, and promoting opportunities to talk.
7. Parents as a reflection of themselves – At this age, children typically worry about how they’re viewed and regarded by others. With that being said, how you present yourself, as a parent, when around your tween will likely influence their perception of you. This may cause your child to carefully evaluate everything you do especially when your present around their peers (Lunder 2013)
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Lunder, Jennifer., How to Survive Your Tween’s Transition to Middle School, Psychology Today. Sussex Directories, Inc: New York