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The summer holidays are over and as the school year gets closer, it hits you – your child is no longer in elementary school. Gone are the days of having one central homeroom teacher and arranging playdates for your child. A new era awaits, with challenges ranging from lockers in the hallways to different teachers for each subject, a wider selection of extra-curriculars, and your child trying to arrange their own social schedule. How do you best support your child’s back to (middle) school experience?
Here are a few tips we at Crimson Rise strongly suggest as your child enters middle school.
Helpful Back to School Tips for Middle Schoolers and Their Families:
1) Make the Scheduling Clear – As your child no longer has a central homeroom teacher for most of their core subjects (English, Math, Science, etc), their schedule may vary more from day to day and as such, following it might be difficult. Get a copy of their school schedule and expand it to include a schedule of their after-school commitments too – from soccer practice to family dinner! Have a copy in their room, one in their backpack, and another on the family fridge so it is always easily accessible.
2) Create a Study Spot – Studies have shown that the human brain is more likely to focus if it has a quiet, designated spot to perform certain tasks. Ensure your child has a desk in a quiet location at home to do their homework and perform revision of their subjects on a daily basis.
3) Get Organized – From providing appropriate school supplies such as notebooks, a daily planner/academic diary, clothes that fit your child and follow your school’s dress code (or uniform guidelines), and a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils, make sure to your child has everything they need to start the year fresh. Don’t forget to label items such as their graphic calculator and binders with their name!
4) Keep School Gear in a Specific Place – From their daily backpack to more specific needs such as sporting equipment and seasonal school wear, ensure there is a central spot for your child to have all their school gear in the same place. Dedicating a closet in your home specifically to school is a great way for your child to learn organization.
5) Learn Who is Who in the System – As we have discussed, it is likely that your student has more teachers than ever this year. Try to attend the “back to school night” should your school provide one and your schedule allows. If not, reach out to the teachers and introduce yourself. Do likewise with the school principal, sports coaches, etc. Should the need for further communication about an issue arise during the school year, your odds of it being resolved in a positive manner are much greater if you’ve taken these steps at the start.
6) Be Mindful Your Child is Growing Up – At Crimson Rise, we identify grade 6 as the year of relationships, grade 7 as the year of exercising independence, and grade 8 as the year of skill-building. As such, it is natural that your child’s relationships with others may slowly start to mature, they will start to develop strong opinions and desires of their own, and find skills they wish to develop (as well as those they must develop).
7) Ensure Your Middle Schooler’s Physical Needs are Met – From packing a healthy lunch to ensuring a proper routine is in place for bedtime, as well as refreshing their wardrobe if they hit a growth spurt, ensure your child has a positive, nurturing environment to help them grow and develop.
8) Provide Opportunities to Embrace Freedom and Develop Responsibility – Long gone are the days of you organizing playdates for your child. In middle school, students generally will be asking their parents about having sleepovers, going to the cinema, or having study dates with a friend. Be open in a firm but nurturing way regarding what is appropriate for your household and what is not. Give them a chance to practice responsibilities by dividing up chores at home between all household members, and start to teach money management by deciding on a weekly or monthly allowance for your middle schooler’s social outings, miscellaneous small luxury purchases (Legos, fun accessories, etc).
9) Get Help Where Needed – If you notice your middle schooler struggling in a specific area such as Math or Science, discuss what is going on, perhaps even with their teacher if you need the details! While we know that middle school grades are not sent to university, the base knowledge acquired at this age is priceless for ensuring academic success in high school. Why not check out some of the tutoring options available at Crimson Rise if your student has a busy schedule that favors remote learning?
10) Offer Help Where Needed – Be a loving, nurturing, positive role model for your child to the best of your abilities. Whether it is hearing about their social dilemmas, discussing their growing opinions on matters, or simply offering a hug (with their consent, of course!) before they leave for school in the morning, your middle schooler still needs to know that their parents, and/or guardians are always there for them.
And there you have it! By following these ten tips, we are certain that you middle schooler’s “back to school” experience will be positive one!
Your friendly neighbourhood Rise blogger,
Learn more about Crimson Rise’s strategic mentorship, academic support, and extracurricular coaching for young students, and request a free consultation on your child’s journey!