What to Expect in Middle School
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How to handle the Transition to Middle School - Episode 046
What was middle school like for you? It was probably laid back, casual, little tougher than the previous grades but you handled it! So, if you have a child in middle school right now, you’re probably wondering what the big fuss is about?
A lot. Everything about middle school has changed over the years. Schools expect your kids to be smarter, responsible and organized as soon as they start. This puts more pressure on you, the parent. In turn, your child will be trying to meet with your expectations AND the expectations of middle school.
How can we make middle school a little less stressful, a lot more organized, and smooth as buttah on a biscuit?
This episode of School Counselor Gone Rogue breaks down what tweens and teens face when they step into middle school for the first time. Be sure to listen to and subscribe to the podcast.
Preparing your child for the Middle School Years
Consider your child’s age
Depending on where you live, middle school can start when a child is 10 to 12 years of age.
What happened to the days of junior high? Many teachers believe that middle should start in 7th grade and we need to bring back the junior high model. Suddenly having to adjust to 7 subjects, 7 new teachers, social circles and 4-minute class transitions is a lot for students to tackle at a young age. My own daughter will only be 10 when she starts 6th grade!
Consider your own child’s age and maturity level as they begin middle school. Are they being expected to do more than they can handle at their age? This doesn’t mean you do everything for them, but consider if they might need additional support as they make the transition.
Skills, Skills, Skills
It's completely natural to look at your kid and think, they are the most awesome thing since awesome sauce. And once you've said that to them a couple of million times, they might start to believe it. But when they step into middle school, they feel otherwise.
People expect your kid to have suddenly become half a grown up over 3 months of summer vacation. And as a parent, the realization that your kiddo isn’t meeting school expectations is like a punch in the gut!
Want to know the skills that middle school students need? Listen to this week’s episode of School Counselor Gone Rogue above or on your favorite podcast platform.
People Skills and Navigating Student Teacher Relationships
Middle school requires your child to adjust, not only to new social circles - but to new adults! They will shift from one teacher to several new teachers and while some of them may be awesome, some won't. Help your child focus on the subject and not the personality of the teacher. How can they benefit from navigating prickly relationships with people in authority?
As Jason discussed in our Career Fair Gone Wild Episode found here, working with different personalities is something he deals with in his career. He could have benefited from learning those skills as a student. Developing working relationships with difficult and pleasant adults is a skill that students can benefit from even as early as middle school.
Stay Informed of School Events
Parents have to be involved, but that doesn’t mean being a helicopter parent. It also doesn’t mean you have to quit your job and back cookies for the bake sale. Nobody has to be a part of the PTA but simply subscribing to the newsletters and following the school on social media pages is enough to stay in the loop and help your kid out.
It’s OK to have a Bad Day
A lot of kiddos and adults aren’t able to see where they are successful because they haven’t set measurements for success. You need to set measures that are both visual and emotional so you can tell when something is successful or not.
If it’s visual, it might be a certain grade, or a certain number of missing assignments, or a certain number of absences.
Emotional might be your stress level, or bedtime (which ties into procrastination and motivation, which is emotional). How are you going to feel when things aren’t going so hot? How are you going to feel when things are on track to help you achieve your goals? Create a personal compass and let that be a guide for how successful your current plan is. Transitioning to middle school is not easy but you can learn to deal with the mental pressure. If your kid has had a rough day love on them a little more. But more than that, parents should be able to converse with their kids about their difficult days and take a team approach. Instead of solving their problems, parents need to be able to help their kids figure out a system or plan of action that works for them.
Thriving in middle school is possible, but me need to prepare our children for what they might expect. Organization, advocacy and support are critical to a smooth transition to a new school year.
Listen to the full episode of School Counselor Gone Rogue by clicking above or subscribe on Apple Podcasts, I Heart Radio, Stitcher, Google Play or your favorite podcast platform. If you like what you hear – leave a review!
You can also sign up for the wait list for The Organized School Year at teampasch.com/theorganizedschoolyear. It’s an intensive workshop to help your child create and implement an organization system that meets their needs.
The shift from elementary to middle school
Entering 6th grade with confidence
The skills students need in middle school
Marni Pasch| Host of School Counselor Gone Rogue| Academic Coach | Team Pasch Academic Coaching
I work with students in grades 6th and higher, who struggle with academic confidence and motivation. I help them survive school with less stress by helping them create concrete goals, tackle procrastination and learn creative study techniques. I empower students to take charge of their education and reach their goals. I do this through individual or group coaching so students achieve success in life, school, career readiness and their social endeavors. I provided in person academic coaching in Orlando, FL, but work with students across the country through Zoom!