By Karen Schloss, Volunteer Coordinator
In a few weeks, your student will begin middle school. There’s a lot to learn: the building is larger, the day starts and ends earlier than in elementary school, rules are different and faces unfamiliar. Because students change rooms for each class, they don’t have an assigned desk, but instead must store everything in their lockers. They have new names, schedules and locker combinations to memorize.
It’s enough to give even the most confident pre-teen the jitters.
To help parents and students navigate this passage, this blog will focus on some practical advice. There are also many social and emotional issues that children and parents may need to address during this transition period, such as more intense academic demands, making and choosing friends, bullying, the extent of parental involvement, and more. For helpful information, visit Great Schools and TweenParenting.
Following several easy steps with your child using these “ingredients” will go a long way toward making your child’s transition successful, anxiety-free and delectable!
1. Attend Orientation Day with your student. (This is the time when students get their schedules. It’s a great opportunity for you to take your child on a tour to find his/her classrooms, meet the teachers and counselor, and purchase books and gym uniform.)
2. Practice using a combination lock before school starts. (Usually one locker is assigned for books, coat, etc. and another for physical education class.)
3. Review your schedule nightly for the first few weeks. (There are usually “A Days” and “B Days,” so become familiar with them.)
4. Tape a copy of the schedule inside the door of your locker. (A quick glance and you know which binders you’ll need for morning and afternoon classes.)
5. Color code your binders. (For example, with yellow for morning classes, blue for afternoon, there’s no chance of arriving for class unprepared.)
6. Prepare at night for the next day. (Check your schedule, pack books and materials you’ll need, and after homework is done, make lunch or take money to buy it, to avoid rushing in the morning.)
7. Listen to the weather report and decide what you’re wearing before you get ready for bed. (Is it clean, ironed, etc.?)
After you’ve blended these ingredients, stir in a few extras to ensure a sweet school year:
2 cups communication
1 cup patience
½ cup encouragement
2 heaping tablespoons humor
3 teaspoons relaxation
1 generous sprinkling of praise
Be your child’s advocate and share this journey together. Remind your student that it takes time to learn the way around, adjust to a new routine, and feel comfortable. And don’t hesitate to ask school personnel for help—they want your child to have a DELICIOUS school experience!
By Karen Schloss, Volunteer Coordinator, Big Brother Big Sister Matching Program, Jewish Community Services, Baltimore, MD. Karen was previously an elementary school teacher and an elementary and middle school guidance counselor.
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