How to make the transition easier
Talk about the differences between elementary and middle school
Review your student’s schedule
Take a tour of the middle school
Start a new routine
Help your child get organized
Focus on learning
Don’t run to their rescue
So, your child is moving up from elementary to middle school. This is a big step, filled with plenty of changes and challenges. It’s also a time when your child will experience a lot of growth personally and academically. Switching between classes, using lockers, changing for gym class, and a more challenging curriculum are all in the works.
Are you and your child preparing for middle school? Never fear. This guide will help you get ready for the leap with eight simple tips.
Tip 1: Talk about middle school differences
It’s important to talk to your child about what to expect in middle school, as compared to elementary school. For instance, your child will have a different teacher for each subject as opposed to one primary teacher. That means they will have to navigate from one class to another.
Classes are typically longer and harder than in elementary school. There may also be a homeroom period. He/she might have a locker to store things that aren’t needed for a particular class.
Tip 2: Review the class schedule
You should get a class schedule before the start of the new year. Look over it with your child and map out where he/she needs to be and how to get there. You also want to make sure there are no mistakes on your child’s schedule. Finally, you can write down the schedule in a physical notebook or enter it into a smartphone, using a notes app or the calendar feature.
Tip 3: Take a tour of the school (with the schedule)
As mentioned, moving from class to class (in only a few minutes) is one of the biggest challenges for new middle school students. There are no teachers leading the way or lines of students to follow. Your child will have to navigate the hallways alone and it can be daunting at first.
Thankfully, most schools hold an orientation so that new students can meet their teachers and learn the layout of the school. Bring your child’s schedule and help him/her plan routes to get to and from each class. Locate your child’s locker as well as the gym, cafeteria, library, and main office. Don’t forget to note the locations of the bathrooms!
Tip 4: Create new routines
Middle school usually starts earlier than elementary school. That means you’ll need to create a new morning routine. Since your child will need to wake up earlier, he/she may need to go to bed earlier. Lay out your child’s outfit the night before, including socks and shoes. Fix his/her backpack the night before, too, so that nothing is forgotten in the morning rush to get out the door.
Your afternoon/evening routine may need some adjusting, too. Your child will have more homework, so he/she will need extra time to complete it after school.
There may be sports or band practice, as well as other after-school activities like music and dance lessons or tutoring. You’ll need to help your child plan his/her day so that nothing falls through the cracks.
Tip 5: Help your child get organized
Building organizational skills is essential in middle school. Students have to keep track of class schedules, lessons, and assignments. Find a system that works for your child, whether it’s labels, color-coding, or a notebook with dividers. You can also organize your child’s backpack so it’s easier to find what he/she needs for a particular class.
Tip 6: Focus on learning
Getting good grades is important, of course, but the focus should center on ensuring good learning. The pressure to get straight A’s can lead to anxiety, which is a big problem for many adolescents. Instead of putting all the focus on GPA, encourage your child to be prepared, turn in homework on time, and always try his/her best. You also want to acknowledge when your child makes progress or masters new skills.
However, if your child needs extra help in a particular subject, don’t be afraid to ask for it. Your child’s teachers may offer tutoring services, you can hire an outside tutor, or look into learning centers.
Tip 7: Encourage your child to explore new horizons
Middle school is a great time for your child to explore new interests and take positive risks. Risk is a part of life and every child needs to learn how to be comfortable taking on challenges. This is a great way to encourage personal growth.
Positive risks include:
Trying out for a sports team
Joining a school club
Volunteering to help with a charity drive
Taking a music or dance class
Trying out for the school play or a solo in choir
Running for class office
Making new friends
Helping plan school activities/events
All of these activities can help your child can gain self-confidence as well as leadership and communication skills. He or she will also grow to be a stronger person overall.
Tip 8: Let your child struggle
We understand that you want to protect your child. However, sometimes letting a child struggle can be a good thing. Your child needs to learn how to persevere, even when things are hard. This will help your child grow into a successful adult.
One way you can do this is by letting your child fix his/her own mistakes. If your child fails to turn in an assignment, puts off studying to do something “fun,” or gets detention, hold back from riding to the rescue immediately.
Prepare for a new experience
Preparing your child for middle school now will help him/her be more successful in a new environment with new challenges. It’s up to you as a parent to help set the tone for a great year.
Lamad Academy is here to ensure your child grows academically and personally. Our vision is to build a school culture that drives success. We foster a positive learning environment that encourages inquiry and thought along with a climate of passion and excitement among students and teachers. Ultimately, this can help improve academic performance and create a better school culture.