They grow up so quickly! Your child is at the threshold of middle school. It seems like it was just yesterday when they were timid about attending preschool. Now they’re off to sixth grade. Here’s how to better prepare them and yourself for the ‘next level’ of schooling.
Going from grade school to middle school is a major shift. There are different teachers, harder classes, and additional homework. Plus, your sixth grader will be attending school with “teenagers,” older students in seventh and eighth grade. Your child is bound to reserve reluctance for something. Make them feel comfortable about discussing their thoughts and feelings with you. Most to-be sixth graders are excited, yet discussing any anxieties makes a parent more aware and ready to help.
Balance Life and School
Preteens are social and at an age when they like to be with friends (with limited parental guidance). Having friends and socializing is important to childhood development, yet encourage your young student to balance social life with the demands of school. In some cases, you may need to have conversations with your child and set limits regarding when they can go out (after homework and chores are finished) and how long they can stay out on a weeknight (until 8pm). Also, don’t wait to see a poor grade on a report card; ask your child how well they are doing in each subject and consider getting a tutor for the challenging subjects.
Talk About Bullying
Bullying is an issue during middle school years. This generation’s children have to deal with bullies at school and online; cyberbullying, being targeted by bullies on social media, etc. Let your kids know that it’s not okay for others to make them feel pressured, disrespected, or in danger. Remind them to let you know about any aggressive and unethical peer behavior.
Change Study Behavior
School becomes more difficult in middle school. Additionally, some schools have accelerated and honors classes. Kids need to form good study habits in middle school. A daily planner may help your child delegate time for each subject and homework assignments. Also, middle school is when students are given the PARCC test. Consider commercial and online study resources in addition to keeping an eye on your preteen’s study habits. Consider private tutoring, tutor services, or school-related aid too.
Keep It Positive
Ultimately, middle school is a great time in a preteen’s life. One grows more mature, develops a personality, and explores extracurricular and interpersonal interests. Be sure your child has a positive outlook about transitioning to a new school. Middle school invites opportunity to play a sport, join a club, and make more friends.
Visit the School
Visit the school with your child so both parties become familiar with the premises, number of levels, hallways, etc. If you already have your child’s roster, you can take a tour around the school and see the classrooms before the first day. Contact the school’s secretary to see if you can schedule a tour.
Tom Brookes is a teaching assistant who helps out at his son’s school 3 times a week. He writes about teaching, and parenting, sharing his knowledge with other moms and dads.