Ease your child’s transition to middle school

August 24, 2015

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At Home

The beginning of the school year can be an exciting time, but it can also be daunting, especially for students that are entering middle school. They’ll encounter a new school environment, new social situations, and all of the other (often awkward) issues that come with becoming a tween.

If this transition is creating stress for your child, here are some ways you can help him or her.

Get the lay of the land

If school hasn’t started yet, take your child to the campus and walk around so he or she can get familiar with where everything is, and figure out how to get from class to class. Doing this can help reduce anxiety on the first day of school. Additionally, school will likely start earlier in the day than in elementary school, which means you might need to get up earlier as well. So, suggests psychologist Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D., “two weeks before school starts, get everyone used to going to bed and getting up earlier…a tired kid isn’t going to do well in school. Set up a healthy sleep routine from the start.”

Stay on track with schoolwork

Now that your child will be taking more classes and working with more challenging material, provide some structure to help him or her succeed academically. School counselor Dr. Sharon Sevier recommends that you create a set time for homework, and make sure your child has a distraction-free place to study. “Don’t accept, ‘I don’t have any homework,’” Sevier says. “If there is no homework, they can always review what was taught that day or they can read.”  If you notice your student struggling with grades, take action as soon as possible to provide support, such as talking to your child’s teacher or hiring a tutor.

Support your child’s social life

The new social scene in middle school can be just as challenging for your child as the academics – and so is figuring out how involved you should be. When it comes to social problems, resist the urge to intervene, says parenting expert and author Michelle Icard. Rather, be supportive and focus on guiding your child to solve his or her own problem by asking questions like these. If your child is having trouble making friends, encourage him or her to participate in activities that naturally involve meeting others, such as team sports or volunteering.

Have other ideas for how parents can help their kids navigate the transition to middle school? Share them in the comments below!

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All Comments (2)

Jane August 25, 2015 at 7:53 am

Why do you name your company as IXL LEARNING ?

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The IXL Team August 25, 2015 at 9:07 am

Hi Jane, “IXL” sounds like “I excel,” and that’s one of our goals as a company – to help students excel at learning!

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