Helping Your Child Make Successful Transitions: Elementary to Middle School
Throughout childhood, children face changes at home and at school. These changes can be small and go unnoticed, or they can be life-changing. Moving from elementary to middle school may mean a new building, a new schedule, new teachers and new classmates. Many children may also be maturing physically, facing new responsibilities at home and hard course work at school. The importance of parents being involved in their child’s transition from elementary to middle school cannot be over estimated. While many parents think they need to give their child more independence, children this age still need the attention and support of a parent to see them through this transition. Parents can help make this transition a positive experience for their children, giving them a sense of self-confidence and accomplishment.
Tips for Helping Your Child Transition from Elementary to Middle School
- Find out about the differences between the two schools from other parents and school staff members in your community.
- Talk with your child about the differences between the schools: teachers, recess, schedules and new classes.
- Visit the building and playground.
- Tell your child about your confidence in him and his ability to do very well in school.
- Talk to your child about the physical and social changes that she may see at school, like cliques, puberty and other adolescent issues.
- Ask your child what he thinks middle school will be like. Listen and talk to your child about his fears, his confidence and his hopes.
- Ask the school for information and the handbook prior to the beginning of the school year. This should be provided in your home language. Read this information with your child.
- Visit the school Web site.
- Find out about the school rules and talk to your child about the reason for the rules. Let your child know that you support the rules.
- Attend any orientation or open house events.
- Share childhood memories of times when you were worried about a new situation. Talk about the good things that happened or how you dealt with problems.
- Check in with your child regularly and ask how he feels about school. Ask about friends, what he does in his free time, what he is learning, and who are the teachers and staff he interacts with.
- Encourage your child to be organized. Talk about how being organized will help her be responsible and will help her do well in school.
- Expect your child’s transition to be successful. Remember the adjustment will take time. Your positive outlook can help your child; let him know you are confident in his ability to do well.
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