Moving on from elementary school to middle school is a big transition for kids. Harder classes, more kids, and new social situations are just a few things they will probably face.
The transition is likely to be a bit scary not only for our kids but for us as well!
Thankfully, there are some things we can do to help our children be prepared for this often challenging time in their lives.
1. Talk about it
Communication is key to everything. Talk to your kids about what they expect middle school to be like, what they've heard, and anything else they might be concerned about. Kids talk to each other and often share misinformation, which can make things even scarier. Let them know what to expect, and if they have questions you can't answer, call the school to find out.
2. Attend back-to-school events
Our schools host a day before school starts when students pick up schedules, take photos for school IDs, and explore the school so they know where to go their first day. Find out what events your child's school hosts prior to school starting and do your best to attend.
3. Find everything
When you're visiting the school, find each of their classes so they can plan their daily route. Also search out the bathrooms, the school office, the library, the gym, and the cafeteria. If they have a locker assigned already, find it as well and make sure they know how to open the lock!
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4. Practice getting to school and plan for emergencies
Middle school is often the time when children start getting to school on their own, whether by bike, by walking or by public transportation. Practice the route several times and also discuss what to do in case of certain situations or emergencies.
Will you be driving your child or carpooling with other families? Make the drive at least once before school starts so you can have a better idea of timing and the best drop off/pick up locations. You don't want your child dealing with the stress of being late on the first day!
5. Start the new daily routine at home
Middle school usually has a different start time than elementary school. Will your child need to be waking up earlier? Be sure to take this into consideration and get your child started on the new (earlier!) schedule before school starts. Those early start times can be an unwelcome shock to the system if you're used to waking up late in the summer!
6. Plan a special get-together with friends before the first day
Getting together with some friends they haven't seen much of over the summer can help ease those first day nerves and give everyone some much-needed fun right before the big day!
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7. Reassure them
Remind your child that everyone is starting their first day of school together. Everyone is making adjustments and experiencing new things.
And remind them that you are there to support them with whatever they need.
Change can be scary — for all of us! But with preparation, planning, and communication, this transition to middle school can be easier.
I hope these tips help make your family's transition to middle school easier and less stressful. You've got this!