Answer: Middle school is a time of transition and new opportunities for your preteen. In middle school, your child will have opportunities and responsibilities that he didn't have in elementary school. In addition, during the middle school years, parents learn to let go a little, so that their children can grow and become the independent young adults they want them to become.
While you want your child to enjoy the middle school experience, you also want him to use these years to prepare himself for high school. Making sure your child is ready for high school is an important parental responsibility, but not a terribly difficult one. Below are a few hints on how to make sure your child will be prepared for high school in just a few short years.
High School - Tips for Your Tween
- Establish Good Study Habits: One of the best ways to prepare your child for high school is to help him develop good study habits. Those habits will come in handy when high school begins, and the homework load increases. You can encourage your child to develop time management skills by showing him how to use a daily agenda, and by helping him track his commitments on a weekly calendar. In addition, once a week your child should update his agenda or calendar, making sure projects, papers and other long-term assignments are accounted for. Help him set up a study station that's free from distractions, and be sure to use positive reinforcement when he takes the time to work on homework assignments or projects without reminders from you.
- Look Forward to Opportunities: Some students may be anxious about the idea of high school, but you can turn their anxiety into excitement by sharing some of the opportunities high school offers. Be sure your child knows about the sport teams, clubs and extra-curricular activities available at his future school. Check out the school's website to see if high school internships are available, or to learn more about the electives the school offers. These options will show your tween that high school can be fun as well as academic.
- Attend Orientation: If your local high school offers an orientation for middle schoolers, be sure to take advantage of the opportunity to learn more. An orientation gives parents and students the chance to learn about school culture, rules, and more. Some school websites may offer virtual tours, so that prospective students can get an idea of the school layout, lockers, and where the gym, cafeteria, and school office are located.
- Don't Rush Things: You want your child prepared for high school, but you also want him to enjoy the middle school experience while he can. Resist the urge to place too much pressure on your tween during the middle school years. As long as he's working hard, and developing good study habits, he's well on his way to preparing himself for the demands of high school. Middle school only lasts a few years, and when they're gone they're gone, so put most of your emphasis on helping him achieve and enjoy middle school. That will also help him develop the skills he'll need later for high school.
- Meet with the Guidance Counselor: It wouldn't hurt if your child made contact with his guidance counselor at some point in middle school to discuss high school courses and to make sure he's doing all he needs now to succeed later. If your child plans on attending college, be sure the courses he takes reflect that, and his abilities. Gathering information now will pay dividends later.