Whether your child attends a public or private school, middle school is a delicate time in their development. Middle school is the bridge that gets children from elementary school to high school and an incredibly critical part of their journey to becoming an adult. Throughout preschool and elementary school, children typically view each other as equals, and are supportive to each other. When they reach middle school, they experience the confusion of puberty, become more self-conscious and socially aware, and are highly influenced by their peers, which are sometimes incredibly negative. At the same time, the life skills they develop at this time will often make or break their success in high school and college.
A bad middle school experience can have a terrible impact on a child’s self-esteem, and their success throughout the rest of their education and formative years. A few tips for helping a child maintain a healthy outlook and experience success in middle school are listed below.
- Take a Hands-on Approach
When your child is at a middle school age, they are developing their own voice and should see you advocate for them so that they can learn how to advocate for themselves. If you need to, work with your child’s teachers, counselors, and other school facilitators on your child’s behalf to make sure they have all the tools they need to be successful. Guide your child to create their own solutions, both academically and socially, with your support. Ask your child open-ended questions to help them develop problem-solving skills:
- What have you tried to solve this issue so far?
- What has helped the situation and what has not?
- What do you think a good solution to this problem is?
- What are the steps you should take to reach that solution?
Showing your child that they have your support, but also have the power to solve problems on their own will give them confidence in middle school, and throughout their development.
- Promote Organizational Skills
When your child is in middle school, they tend to have more responsibility for their own assignments than they did previously. Help the make it a habit to record all of their assignments, so they don’t lose track of them. It’s not a bad idea to get them a planner that helps them stay on top of due dates so nothing slips through the cracks.
- Teach Your Child Good Time Management Habits
Ii is typically part of the curriculum to introduce time management skills to students around fifth grade. This is a skill that should be reinforced regularly throughout your child’s middle school career, so they have discipline in high school and college.
Help your child develop a routine that gives them plenty of time to get their homework done after school without stress. Take a project management approach to giving your child good time management skills:
- Break bigger projects into smaller sub-tasks so they aren’t as overwhelming.
- Organize the sub-tasks chronologically as they should be completed to accomplish the larger goal.
- Estimate a realistic time frames for each sub-task.
- Organize a schedule so that there is enough time for each task, and ultimately the entire project, without inducing anxiety or stress.
- Help Your Child Develop Good Study Habits
Many times, when children struggle to be successful on tests, it is because they don’t know how to prepare themselves for it. Being able to effectively study for a test will be a huge attribute for your child in high school and even college. A few ways to help your child develop good study skills include:
- Give them a dedicated study space. Ideally, you’ll have a desk in your room that is free of distractions where your child can focus. If not, encourage them to visit the school library for the study sessions.
- Encourage your child to be interactive with their studying. Rather than reading the textbook and trying to memorize it, make flashcards, take notes, or use sticky notes to highlight important parts.
- Help your child to identify the time of day that they are the most focused (are they a morning person or a night owl?) to and use that to maximize the effectiveness of their study time.
Do you have any other tips for supporting a middle school-age child? Please share them in the comment section below!