Transitioning To Middle School

Your about-to-be middle schooler will soon face some unique challenges. Follow these steps now to make their transition easier.

Five simple steps to help ease your child’s anxieties.

For most children, the transition to middle school is an exciting time. It can also bring up feelings of anxiety, uncertainty and stress. Those are feelings you may experience too. There are several steps you can take to help your children thrive in their new surroundings.

Step 1: Acknowledge their feelings.

Your kids are likely to feel overwhelmed by the move to the bigger world of middle school. Encourage them to express their thoughts and concerns and really listen to what they have to say. Let them know it’s normal and okay to feel nervous. Make sure they know that you’re there for them every step of the way and that their teachers are there for them too.

Step 2: Help them get to know their new school.

If possible, help them get a sense of their new space and their new routines before the school year starts. Tour the school and attend all orientation events. If teachers are available, say hello. Anticipate the questions your child may have, such as figuring out how to get from one place to another, finding classes and even making new friends.

Step 3: Help them get organized.

Middle school will demand more of your child, with multiple classes, assignments and activities competing for their time. Help your child create an organizational system so they can keep track of deadlines and other important dates. This can be as simple as making notes on a planner, whiteboard or calendar. Teach them how to prioritize so they do not feel overwhelmed. You can also show them how to break down large projects into smaller tasks that feel more manageable.

Step 4: Encourage their interests.

As your child begins to grow their own unique identity, encourage them to try new things and develop new interests. Help them explore clubs, activities, sports and volunteer opportunities. Extracurricular activities are a great way to meet new friends, gain confidence and feel like an important part of school.

Step 5: Keep talking.

It can be tough to get tweens and teens talking but keep the lines of communication open. Encourage them to share their experiences – both the challenges and the successes – and offer suggestions and support. When issues arise, be proactive. Establish open lines of communication with their teachers. Ask them how you can help support your child as they get acclimated to their new surroundings.