Middle school is traditionally difficult since it falls during a time when students are going through many physical and psychological changes, and are learning a whole new way to relate to one another and the world around them. As they mature, life can be confusing for your child, and when you throw in a complete transition at school as well, it could cause problems. While there isn’t a way to make life transitions “easy”, you can make them better with specialized support for your student and a few key tips to try as you head into the next school year.
First, familiarize your student with the new environment at their middle school. Oftentimes, students will be changing campuses altogether when they move up to middle school. Here at ASA, our students remain on the same campus, but will be transitioning into the “Upper School” portion, which feels like a whole new world. Regardless of the change, whether across the campus or across town, take your student to any and all orientations offered in the new place, including teacher meet-and-greets, sporting events and pep rallies, etc. Any opportunity to expose your child to the new people and places that will greet them on the first day of Middle School will help them feel more comfortable when the day arrives. ASA offers a “Gearing Up for Middle School” weeklong camp for rising 6th graders starting July 24th.
Also, help your student get comfortable with some of their new tasks and responsibilities. The summer before middle school begins is a vital time to teach time management and self-imposed scheduling. Middle school means your child will be changing classes, managing a lunch break, etc. It’s necessary for them to know how to manage their time so they aren’t late to class, or don’t miss lunch. Learning to stick to a schedule is important at this age and will continue to gain importance as they head toward college and adulthood. Small tasks should be practiced as well, like remembering the code to the lock on their locker (and how to unlock it), packing for school the night before (including gym clothes, sporting equipment, instruments, and other items needed for their day), and lunch, if they aren’t buying from school. While you will likely help them with some of these tasks for a period of time, they need to learn how to do these things on their own as they pass through the middle school years.
That leads us to the final way to prep your student for middle school, and that tip is: step back. By stepping back and letting your child take over more tasks and responsibility, you are allowing them to fly, and that is an important part of growing up. Yes, they still need you and will require your support for a long while. Remember to keep asking about their day, keep up with their friends and their grades, and involve yourself in every area where you can offer support. But when it comes to managing their days, it’s time to let them learn some lessons on their own, and take on the challenge of blossoming into young adults.
We look forward to seeing our newest middle schoolers here at ASA in just a few short weeks, and we can’t wait to welcome ALL of our students back to campus!