When children go off to middle school for the first time, they're often excited about getting a locker of their very own. But at some schools students may have to share a locker with another student for a year or two. If your child has to share locker space with someone else, here's what she should know about the arrangement and about organizing the locker
so it works for both students..
How to Share a Locker
Establish Rules: The first thing your child and his locker mate should do is establish a set of rules regarding the locker. Rules might include not sharing the locker combination with anyone else, or keeping the locker organized and neat. Whatever rules your child and his locker mate come up with, have them put them in writing. It might also be a good idea to post the rules in the back of the locker to serve as a gentle reminder.
Other locker rules could be:
Don't leave dirty gym clothes in the locker overnight
Don't leave food or snacks in the locker
Keep the locker clean at all times
Share Cleanup: Lockers have to be cleaned out from time to time to avoid odors and to keep it easy to find the school supplies and other supplies middle schoolers need. But clean out duties should be shared by both locker mates. Your child and his or her locker mate could come up with a schedule to clean out the locker, or they could simply say they will clean it out together every Friday after school. Whatever the schedule, it should be fair and easy for both parties to keep.
Decorate Together: One of the pros to going to middle school and having a locker is decorating it. Your child and her locker mate should discuss locker decorations together and agree on what the decor should be. The middle schoolers could pool money to buy decorations together, or they could divide the locker into two and allow each to decorate their side of the locker.
Decide What Can be Shared: It's not a bad idea for your child to keep a few school supplies in his locker in case they're needed suddenly. Your child and his school mate could each bring certain backup school supplies (such as notebooks, loose leaf paper, pencils or pens) and agree to share them when needed.
Make the Most of the Space: Sharing a locker isn't always easy, and there's never enough room for all the stuff a locker needs to hold. That's why it's important for your child and his locker mate to make the most of space. Consider purchasing locker accessories that will help your child and his friend use space wisely. You can purchase extra hooks to adhere to the inside of the locker for hanging jackets and sweaters. Shelf dividers will help the students divide the shelf into two for books, notebooks and other supplies. A trip to your local big box retailer should help you find a few accessories that might help make all the difference to the locker mates.
Agree on How to Work Through Problems: At some point during the year it's likely that your child and his locker mate will disagree about something. When the school year is new, have them agree on how to work through disagreements and problems, should they arise. Agreeing on how to get through locker issues before they happen may help minimize disagreements or problems.
Be Friendly: If your child doesn't know his locker mate, be sure you encourage him to be friendly and agreeable at the beginning of the locker experience. The locker mates don't have to be best friends, but if they can get along while sharing the locker, that could make the year go much easier for both students.