5 Ways to Help Your Kid Get Ready for Middle School

school lockersI don't know about you, but as a mom, I'm super stressed about sending my kids to middle school -- and my oldest still has one more year of elementary school to go! Middle school just seems like such a giant leap for kids to make. To me, it marks the official transition from childhood to adolescence ... and that's pretty major stuff.

I know the tween years are always a bumpy ride, but I want to make sure the switch to middle school goes as smoothly as possible when my daughter takes the plunge next year. Of course, middle school has changed quite a bit since I was her age (back then, we called it "junior high"). So I've been researching ways to prepare the both of us!

These are my Top 5 Tips:

  1. Make a plan to be organized. Middle school means different teachers for every subject, switching classrooms, and maintaining a locker. Before school starts, sit down with your kid and come up with some simple strategies to keep everything organized: Using colored folders to separate materials, double-checking his assignment sheet when he's packing up at the end of the day, making sure his locker stays relatively clutter-free so everything is easy to find.
  2. Display a detailed weekly schedule in the kitchen. Why the kitchen and not his room? Because this way you're both regularly reminded about what's happening on any given day -- try using a dry erase board, so you can make changes easily. (Math test moved to Tuesday! Band practice ends at 5 instead of 4:30!)
  3. If tours are offered for incoming students, take your child. If possible, also set up a meeting with your child's guidance counselor or advisor. You want your kid to be as familiar as possible with the school before he starts -- and you want the school to be familiar with your kid!
  4. Encourage your child to sign up for any activities that interest him. Find out what sort of clubs/sports/arts programs the school offers ahead of time, so he has time to think about it. You don't want your kid to be over-scheduled, but you don't want him to be bored, either -- plus, getting involved will help your child to make new friends, which is incredibly important for a successful middle school experience.
  5. Relax! If you're in a panic about middle school, your kid will definitely soak up that anxiety, and that's the last thing you want to happen. Remind yourself that you survived middle school and try to focus on the fun (or at least funny) things that lie ahead. Don't lose your sense of humor -- you'll need it!

What will you do to help your kid get ready for middle school?


Image via USACE Europe District/Flickr

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