Middle school is a challenge for kids and for their parents. It’s no accident that the middle school years are set apart from elementary and high school. Somewhere along the line, someone decided the hormonal, prepubescent and pubescent kids should be corralled in their own special place. In fact, there is a program that is decidedly devoted to this 12-14 age group that we can all learn a lot from. Here are five things to think about as your child heads off (or back) to middle school.
5 Simple Back To School Tips;
Grow up. During middle school your child will not only be growing physically, they will be making huge leaps and bounds mentally. Brace yourself for the questions about “WHHYYYYY do I have to learn this? When will I use it?” Have answers ready. In addition to the questions, you will discover that your child has sudden fits of moodiness – ups and downs, sleepiness (usually when growing) and a back and forth between being a kid and a teen. This is not a get-out-of-jail-free card for ugly behaviors but keep these NORMAL behaviors in mind.
Work up. Boys and girls in this age range benefit greatly from significant physical activity. It can be an organized sport, or something you’ve committed to do regularly as a family. The more activity, the better. Challenge your child to push their limits. The exercise boosts the “happy” chemicals in their brains, helps them sleep well and provides a daily sense of accomplishment.
Lighten up. You don’t need to become a free range parent if you’re not ready but, you do need to recognize the benefits (to you and your child) of giving your middle schooler some new freedoms. If you haven’t already, think about an allowance for your child. Give them the chance to meet with friends on their own. An afternoon of skating or a matinee are good ways to let your child learn how to handle social situations and money in a fairly controlled environment. Encourage your child to invite friends to your house. Really. Kids do not care if it’s neat or Pinterest-ready. Have some snacks on hand and explain the house rules. It’s a great way to get to know your child and their friends.
Seek Help. If you see your child struggling as they approach higher math and/or more advanced reading tasks, seek help. Talk to teachers. Talk to your pediatrician. Look into the many online and local special education resources. The sooner you address a problem, the sooner your child will learn to work with and around their issues. Ongoing Special Education Tutoring can make a massive impact in your child’s development and quickly steer them back on the path toward success! Your child’s struggles are not a reflection on you as a parent.
Step up. In middle school, kids are tossed into a new environment and suddenly expected to be able to manage multiple classes, teachers and requirements on their own. While that is a worthy ultimate goal, few middle school children are up to the task (at first). Devise ways to help your child stay organized, take notes, hand in assignments on time and keep track of their school lives. Organization is not a developmental thing. Seventh grade does not turn on a switch and make your child capable of designing flow charts, managing their own lives or even getting their dirty underpants to the right hamper. Organization is learned. It’s up to you to help them figure it out.
While you don’t want to be ruled by fear, trust your instincts. You, the parent, will be stepping out on new limbs over the next three years. Know that you can do this and that your child benefits (in lifelong ways) by you’re willingness to ease up on the reins.
What are some of your families back to school traditions? Please share in the comment section below.