Key Tips Every Middle School Parent Should Know



Middle school is an interesting time for many children and parents. A great deal can happen during the three years between elementary and high school. A student goes from having a couple of teachers to at least six, rotating classes multiple times a day, and being given more independent work. Also, children develop physically, emotionally, and mentally as they turn into a teenager. All of these changes can be overwhelming and confusing for everyone. However, don’t fear if you have a child heading to middle school, because these years are filled with fun and great memories. To help bring out the good and stress-less times, here are key tips every middle school parent should know. 

  • Model and Teach Organizational Skills – Organization is key for middle school. You are now juggling extra homework, extracurricular activities, and more. As a middle school teacher, I see daily struggles with organization, but have found the best way to teach these skills is to have adults model them and guide the student in several areas. 
  • School Supplies – You will probably have more than one supply list for school, as well as several binders, and multiple notebooks. Organize your school supplies to what works for you. Some teachers may be specific on how they want their materials labeled and used, while others don’t mind you sharing a binder for their class and others. 
  • Designate and label items for each of your classes. 
  • Pack your book bag the night before every school day to make sure you have everything you need. 
  • Color coding is another strategy to use, as well as designating a certain folder for completed work and a separate folder for work that needs to be done. 
  • No matter what items are on the supply list, a planner is the most-needed item in middle school. 
  • Teaching your child the importance of writing down their homework at the end of every class, crossing it off when it is completed, and marking due dates of projects and dates of activities will be a lifesaver. Start this habit the summer before sixth grade and reinforce it throughout the next three years. 
    • Time Management – At any age, time management and prioritizing tasks, skills most people struggle with, can be difficult. Create a schedule and a daily to-do list to manage time. Work with your child on building to-do lists for after school, the weekend, etc. Block out time for individual activities. Keep in mind, middle schoolers will need assistance staying on track and getting committed to a schedule at first. An example of an afterschool schedule is: 
      • 3:00 – 3:30: Snack and walk the dog 
      • 3:30 – 5:00: Homework
        • 15 minutes to look over science notes
        • 15 minutes to complete math problems
        • 30 minutes to study for social studies test 
        • 30 minutes for independent reading 
      • 5:00 – 6:00: Swim Practice 
      • 6:00 to bedtime: 
        • Dinner
        • Finish any remaining homework
        • Shower
        • Prepare book bag for tomorrow 
  • Enforce Homework and Study Expectations – This tip also connects to organizational skills. Studying for tests may be a newer concept. Each night or at least once a week, it is important to sit down with your child and go over their homework (making sure it has all been completed), upcoming tests, and their grades. Teach your child how to study. This can be covered in classes, but it is always helpful to reinforce at home. Create a study schedule. Starting well ahead of the test, assist your child with organizing his or her class notes and activities, and review these often. Then, encourage the use of different studying techniques, such as flashcards, review games, and practice tests/problems. By setting the norm of analyzing homework, recording due dates, as well as setting study habits, parents are teaching their children the expectations and importance of completing these tasks. 

While these key tips are valuable, the best thing a parent can do to help their middle schooler is to get involved. Students do gain more independence at this age, but they need help figuring out what that independence truly looks like. As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to your child’s school for assistance. Middle school is a new world and it takes a village, among the child, parents, and school, to be successful. The more support you can give your child in any capacity, the better middle school experience they will have. 

 


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