Get ready to head back to middle school: tips for tweens and parents to help make the transition easier.
Ahhh ... the first day of school. It may be one of the most collectively emotional days across the country: parents are happy they don't have to pay for more summer camp, kids are tired and cranky, and teachers are perhaps excited and maybe a bit fearful. No matter where you are on the spectrum, there's no doubt that a dynamic shift in your life accompanies the kids going back to school.
Nowhere is this shift more apparent than in middle school—those years between the innocence of elementary school and the responsibility of high school. As challenging as it can be to adjust to a new schedule, new teachers, and even a new school, there are ways to ease the transition. These back to middle school tips will help you and your tween move from the carefree ease of summer into the halls of learning with as little heartache and drama as possible.
Tips and Tricks for Middle School
1. Let them grow
Middle school is, if nothing else, a time of growth. It's important for parents to understand that your tween and young teen are adjusting to new social pressures, new interests, and tricky emotional territory.
It's our job as parents to let them grow and help them through difficulties. Clinical psychologist Catherine Steiner-Adair encourages parents to "find times to be available for [them] to talk about what’s going on." Going to the store together, taking the dog for a walk, or cooking together are all excellent suggestions.
2. Attend orientation
If your tween is going into their first year at a new school, make it a point to attend the orientation. Trying to find your classes in a new building with hundreds of other students walking around is something straight out of an anxiety dream. Help your tween get a feel for the school building by touring the facilities and meeting some of their teachers before the school year begins.
3. Gather supplies
When you have the supplies to start school, it's one less thing your tween has to worry about. Make sure they are prepared with folders, pens and pencils, a backpack, and a daily planner to keep up with homework, readings, and school projects.
4. Make copies of the class schedule
Going from room to room for each class can get confusing. Make sure your tween has a few copies of their class schedule. Keep one in a pocket and one in a folder so it's easy to know where to go and when to be there.
5. Adjust to a new schedule
If the story of summer is staying up late, sleeping in, and spending leisurely days at the park, the story of school is getting plenty of sleep, getting up early, and keeping a tight schedule. The transition between the two is tough for anyone.
Start waking your tween up earlier and getting them to bed earlier at least one week before school starts.
6. Stay active
One way to help your tween succeed in middle school is to help them stay active. An article on the Harvard Medical School blog points out that "exercise improves mood and sleep and reduces stress and anxiety." Additionally, studies show that "the parts of the brain that control thinking and memory (the prefrontal cortex and medial temporal cortex) have greater volume in people who exercise versus people who don’t."
So what can you do? Exercise together. Go on family walks, join a community running club, or take a martial arts class together. The bonus is that you get the same benefits your tween does!
7. Stay social
Students who participate in extracurricular activities have better grades, higher self-esteem, and also set themselves up for college acceptance and scholarships. An article from the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at NYU notes that "participating in extracurricular activities in the community, such as volunteering, was found to be the most highly associated with better academic performance."
Volunteering is also known to reduce stress and depression and is associated with overall better health in comparison to those who don't volunteer.
When you're planning to get the kids back to school, it's also a good time to check on your life insurance. It's one of the best things you can do for your loved ones. Get in touch with your local Pekin Insurance agent today and find out more.