Our Family First focus this week is on getting middle schoolers and their families ready for the school year ahead. Every stage of childhood comes with its own unique set of challenges and opportunities.
For middle schoolers, there are 3 general areas of emphasis to be thinking about as you get ready for the new year.
Advance Planning – Get the school year off to a great start with effective advance planning. Organization and self-discipline are important for middle schoolers. Make sure supplies are purchased and organized, and schedules are planned before day 1. Kids are expected to know where they’re going and what they’re doing, so anticipating the daily routine and possible distractions is a great idea.
Academic Goal Setting – Middle school is the time when children need to begin assuming responsibility for their grades. The effort that kids make at this stage of life will serve them well for a lifetime. For parents, keeping a close eye on grades, projects and general subject knowledge is a must. Subject matter gets harder, workload gets greater and expectations are higher. Lay the groundwork to get off to a good start. Here’s another great idea … encourage your child to have a “study buddy.” Or maybe one for each class. This is the school friend your child can compare notes with, study with and serve as a backup on days one of them misses class.
Socialization – In many respects, this may be the most important consideration, and it involves several aspects. It starts with hygiene and fashion. This is the age where children need to assume personal responsibility and awareness. If you child needs a little “coaching” in this area, please provide it asap. Unfortunately, this is also a stage of life where children can be petty and judgmental. Bullying is sad part of the middle school experience for many. The more your child can “fit in” in a general sense, the better start he or she is likely to have.
Finally, encourage your child to have a positive and engaging outlook about school. If you child gets engaged in school activities, he or she is more likely to have a good group of friends and interests. And it’s an important way to have a great middle school experience.