Even though summer is just getting started, I’m already thinking of ways to prepare a child for middle school as my son starts in the fall. If your child is heading off to middle school too, you might be wondering what the heck happened to your baby. I know I am. It seems like just yesterday they were walking up to their kindergarten room, and now here they are preparing to attend the local junior high. If you have a child bound for middle school this year, there are steps you can take to make the transition easier on them. Look at these 7 ways to prepare a child for middle school, so you can be sure the year goes as smooth as possible.
7 Ways to Prepare a Child for Middle School
1. Bring kids in on the class schedule planning.
Instead of just giving your child a class schedule, bring them in on the planning process. Have them read over the class offerings and talk about the ones that interest them. Giving them a little choice will help them feel more confident. My son did this in school with his teachers, but we also talked about it at home in case he had any other questions.
2. Get to know other middle school parents.
Parents and kids both need support during the middle school years. Get to know other middle school parents through mixers and back to school nights. This way you can keep in contact with each other to stay on top of the events happening at the school, and can encourage positive friendships between kids.
3. Have your child interview another middle school student.
Find another middle school student with a year of two under their belt. Then, have your child interview them with any questions they might have. Your child may feel more confident if they speak with a peer who already has some middle school experience and can give advice.
4. Find school activities for your child to get involved in.
Help your child feel like a part of the middle school community by getting them involved in school activities. This can be sports, clubs, organizations, or volunteer groups. By being a part of the community through these activities they will make friends and feel more at home.
5. Help them feel good about their appearance.
Middle school tends to be the age where kids become more cautious about their appearance. Help them feel their best with plenty of positive acclamation. Another thing to keep in mind while preparing a child for middle school is teaching them healthy hygiene routines. Make sure they have the supplies they need on hand and in a small carry along bag they can take with them so they can always freshen up as needed.
6. Make a time to check in with each other each week.
Your child will want her space to explore middle school at her own pace, so instead of asking everyday how school went, make time each week to check in and have a conversation. Let him or her know you are always here to listen if there is ever an issue and keep those lines of communication open.
7. Be clear on behavior expectations and guidelines.
Your child may try to push the rules a bit once they’ve started middle school. The beginning of the school year is a great time to go over expectations and even create a behavior contract so they know what is expected of them. If you choose to loosen up on any policies now that the child is older, make your rules clear so there is no confusion.
Entering middle school should be a time of adventure and excitement. Help your child ease into junior high a little easier when you give these ways to prepare your child for middle school a try!