Remember when you said goodbye to elementary school friends and teachers for the last time before making the transition into middle school? Entering middle school is often a sad and scary time for kids, and parents want to help their kids make the transition to middle school a happy milestone to remember.
It’s understandable why kids entering middle school would be sad and somewhat scared. Kids entering middle school became comfortable in the environment of their elementary school, and they were used to their friends and daily activities. When entering middle school they are faced with the fear of meeting a whole new group of students. They wonder if other middle school students will accept them, and they may be unsure if they will fit in.
In addition to the thought of having to get used to a whole new peer group, kids in elementary school generally don’t switch teachers throughout the day. The thought of changing classes can be very scary. The fear of getting lost and not being able to find a class on time is a real concern for kids entering middle school.
As a parent, you can take several steps in an effort to help your incoming middle school student get ready for the transition to middle school. It’s helpful to begin the process of making the transition to middle school well before summer break. Being well prepared for middle school will help your middle school student enter into middle school comfortably and easily.
Talk to Your Middle School Student
It’s important for parents to begin preparing their student for middle school while they’re still in elementary school. Talk with your student about the differences between middle school and elementary school, and do so in a positive light. Tell your student that it’s fun to change teachers and classes throughout the day, and let them know that each teacher specializes in a different school subject.
It’s also helpful to prepare your student for the fact that he or she will no longer be among the oldest kids in the school, and there will be many more kids in middle school than there were in elementary school. Make this a positive change as well by saying where there are more kids there are more opportunities for making new friends.
Give Your Middle School Student More Responsibilities
Kids in middle school usually have more homework than kids in elementary school, and therefore more is expected of them. Part of growing up is the acceptance of new tasks and responsibilities. Prepare your student by giving them additional tasks at home, and set deadlines for completing those tasks. This will help students prepare for middle school and the new amount of homework and responsibilities.
Visit the Middle School
Most new middle school students are afforded the opportunity to visit the middle school and take a look around. Some elementary schools offer their outgoing students a chance to eat lunch in the middle school cafeteria. This is a great way to remove the mystery and fear regarding the transition from elementary school to middle school.
If your local middle school doesn’t offer a designated day to visit, call your student’s school and find out if you and your middle school student can stop by for a visit once school is out for the summer. Schools generally remain open to summer school students, and school administrators would more than likely be happy to allow you and your incoming middle school student to stop by for a visit.
Make sure you and your student attend orientation if it’s offered at your student’s middle school. Orientation gives students and parents the opportunity to ask questions regarding all aspects of middle school, and attending orientation can greatly quell the fears of an incoming middle school student. Orientation also gives incoming middle school students the opportunity to find their locker, practice opening their locker, and find their classes. Being able to find middle school classes in advance will greatly calm the fears of any incoming middle school student.
Support Your Middle School Student
It’s helpful to talk to your middle school student regarding what they expect to gain from their first year of middle school. Help your student make a list of these expectations, and as a parent you can help your student make sure these anticipations are met.
As a parent of a new middle school student, your helpfulness, positive attitude, and continuing support will help your student make the transition to middle school with confidence and delight. Middle school is a big change for your student, and it doesn’t have to be a sad one. Follow these helpful steps and make the transition to middle school a happy memory for your incoming middle school student.