July 29, 2009
Preparing your child for middle school
Middle school presents your ‘tween with a whole new set of challenges. More homework, more kids to interact with, and more rules. Logistically, it is the first time they are responsible for getting from class to class on their own, and remembering a locker combination.. For many parents and kids alike, the prospects are daunting.
Below are some tips to help your child hit the ground running:
Get the rules
Get a hold of school policies with regards to cell phones, bathroom breaks, even dress codes. A quick call to the school office can provide you this information. This advanced knowledge will help you and your child feel more prepared.
Many schools require an agenda or a notebook to help organize your child. Consider getting a day planner or even a wall calendar specifically for your child to incorporate school to-do’s with after school to-do’s. Seeing the big picture will help teach invaluable time management lessons with regards to managing a work/life balance.
Many parents struggle with how they are going to keep their child on track and motivated to study, complete homework assignments, etc., as they gain more independence in middle school. Dr. Ruth Peters, author of "Overcoming Underachieving," recommends on the Today show website offering a series of rewards and consequences to encourage continued motivation.
While you have your own set of worries, those of your child may be completely different. Don’t assume you know what is going through her head. If she seems reluctant or unable to verbalize, offer some possibilities and ask her to rate her level of anxiety on a scale of 1-10. This will give you an idea as to how to proceed. Writer Susan Carney lists some top middle school stresses in an article appearing in Suite 101.com.
Get schooled on social opportunities
Middle school is the first time your child has the chance to join an activity – drama, sports, clubs, etc. Find out what is available and get your child thinking about what they might be interested in pursuing. And while joining a club or trying out for a sport takes a lot of courage, not trying out is a surefire way to never find out what could have been.
Many upcoming posts will focus on heading back to school. Want me to cover a topic? Just shoot me an e-mail and I’d be happy to consider it.
Check out what other Examiners across the country have to say on the topic of “Back to School”– featured from now through August.