The transition from elementary school to middle school can be a challenge for some children. How do you help your tween make that transition? Very good question and one that we will attempt to tackle with this blog post. Part of parenting is preparing your child for home, school and life in general. It helps when we have open lines of communication.
Talk it out.
You may be nervous. Your child may be nervous. Then there is the excitement that comes from a new phase in yours and your child’s lives. The best solution is to talk about it. Talk about your child’s concerns, fears and what makes them excited. Then talk about your own. In the car, at the dinner table or at bedtime, you know when your child likes to talk. Choose that time and discuss the upcoming school year. Expectations and goals academically, athletically and otherwise can be brought into the discussion as well. This may not be the only conversation you have about these topics, but it is a place to initiate it. Keep talking until everyone is comfortable and feels ready to face the transition with confidence and courage for all the new things to come.
When your children are younger, it is easy to get away with all the necessary back to school supplies. However, it is different once a child reaches tween and teen years. It is more important to them that their belongings show their personal preference and style. Allow your child to be a part of the back to school shopping. Let them make some of their own choices within reason and your personal budget.
Friends. Friends. Friends.
Friendships are a part of growing up. Your children want to connect with their friends more than ever with the advancements in technology. Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and on the list goes. There are so many ways outside of the classroom that children can connect on social media. Then there is texting, phone calls, Facetime and emails. It is seemingly never-ending. The one thing that has not changed is the importance of knowing someone at the school, having a friend in the same class and seeing a familiar face to help walk through the transition with your child. Encourage your child to reach out to his or her friends to compare their school schedules. It will help ease any anxiety they may be experiencing.
Teach them how to be organized.
Some children may just have the organizational “gene”, but some do not. They must be taught how to organize their back to school supplies, how to get ready for the next day, how to lay out their clothes and how to keep their belongings in the same place so they can find things easily. The sooner they learn these good habits, the better off their school year will go. It is never too early to introduce them to using a planner to keep track of their homework assignments and activities.
Take a tour.
Touring your child’s new school can assist them in becoming familiar with their new surroundings, help them find their classroom, the cafeteria, bathrooms and gym. Show them where the office is so they know where to go if they run into any trouble. Take your time and share your enthusiasm with your child for them to focus on the excitement of the transition. It takes the focus off the negative and onto the positive.
Finally, If you have any other tips to help your fellow parents assist their tween in making the transition from elementary to middle school, please leave a comment.