Middle school is an important transitional phase in a child’s life. It’s a big deal for parents and kids alike. I have five tips on getting prepared.
How to Prepare Yourself for Your Child Entering Middle School
As my son prepares to enter middle school this year, I think back to my middle school experience. I HATED IT! It was the year that 6th graders were supposed to be the oldest kids in elementary school. Guess what? They moved 6th grade to “middle school.”
Maybe it was different for me because girls can be so catty. I remember being picked on (and feeling betrayed by girls I thought were my friends…in favor of more popular girls) and having my heart broken for the very first time. Yes, it was all very traumatic for me. So, I’m bringing a lot of baggage into my son’s experience.
I have had to make a conscious decision NOT to discuss that with my son and allow him to experience something new and exciting, form his own opinion, and become more independent.
How to Prepare Your Child for Middle School
My son is care- and fancy-free. He’s excited to be seeing all of his friends, having a locker, and entering a new phase in his life. He’s made a lot of friends on his football team, too. Although they attended different elementary schools, they will all attend the same middle school starting in the fall.
He’s not excited about the fact that his mom signed him up for pre-AP classes and with that placement came two substantial books to read over the summer (Chasing Vermeer & The Hobbit).
Over the course of the summer, we had to make sure paperwork, supplies, and mindsets were in order.
In Virginia, my son was required to have his TDAP booster before being allowed to pick up his schedule or attend the first day of classes. Thankfully we had that taken care of at his last well check up. All I had to do was pick up a form from his pediatrician documenting it.
I’m not sure what’s required in other states, like New York, for example, like at the middle schools in the Bronx. I imagine vaccination rules for schools must vary depending on location.
Sixth graders are commonly required to have:
- notebook paper
- colored pencils
- two pocket folders
- pencil pouch
- spiral notebook with a plastic cover
- copy paper
- tape refills
- glue sticks
- composition notebook
- index cards
Consult your school’s specifications and requirements.
- Tween brands can be expensive. But, with planning, patience, and some inside tips from a former tween, you can do it. I wrote a tween clothing guide that you may find helpful.
- With a little planning, strategic shopping, and timing, you can be clothing children inexpensively and in a jiffy.
Talk to your child
- Get advice from others on preparing for a new school
- Check your child’s attitude
- Allow independence
- Utilize lockers
- Expect organization
- Discuss peer pressure
- Talk about bullying
My son’s school visited the Middle School in the Spring, while still in 5th grade. They walked the halls, played with the lockers, and took an overall tour. We will attend the schools’ open hours during the summer so I will know a little more about what to expect. We will also participate in the “Back to School” night, usually held during the first week of school, to meet teachers and see my son in this new environment. I’ll note friends, frenemies, and potential trouble makers. 🙂
Photo Credit: Clemens v. Vogelsang