When parents send their children to middle school for the first time, they may have myriad emotions as their young ones make this great transition. Concerns like safety, competitiveness of the curriculum and social interactions will in all probability play a significant role in their overall impression of the school. Parents also want to ensure their children are being segued into middle school with little, if any emotional or physical upheaval.
Explain what middle school is all about
By the time your children reach the 6th grade, they will have formed friendships and will have pretty much established mindsets that possibly will last throughout their lifetime. Therefore, it becomes imperative parents strive for balance and one way to do that is to explain any change.
Do not wait till the end of the 5th grade to start discussing the move to middle school and possibly the loss of old friends. You might start as early as the 4th grade, explaining that nothing in the world always remains the same, no matter how much we might want it to, but change can be good because it always introduces something new. It is up to the individual to make the best of the new and the untried.
Focus on the curriculum rather than the school
Parents may want to engage their youngsters in conversation about their favorite subjects in school rather than on the move or the school. Help them have a positive and pre-emptive outlook rather than one that is critical and fearful. If your children are armed with their own expectations, they will know whether they are receiving the education both you, and they want for themselves. Keep these concerns foremost and upfront in your conversations about school.
Visit the school before the new school year starts
This is something most all parents will be advised to do, but what is essential is that parents have well-though-out questions for those who will teach their children. It is not that parents want teachers to give their children special treatment, but this visit allows them to assess the overall environment, resources, safety features, library (or electronics) and other similar features that will factor into your children’s day-to-day existence while students at that school.
Help your children form friendships in the community
If you are in a closely knitted community, there probably will not be a problem as friendships have already been formed, and likely your children will all be going to the same middle school. However, if you are new to the community, or you desire your children attend a school that is not near your home, it becomes important that you assist them to make the transition as smoothly as possible.
Before school starts, try to make friends with a few families in the neighborhood near the new school and introduce them to your children. Hopefully, they will like each other and will have formed ties before school starts. Children who are shy and do not make friends easily are targets for school bullies, therefore, do all you can to make your children transition to middle school both joyful and memorable.
When you send your children to middle schools for the first time, you may become painfully aware they are growing up and becoming more independent. However, they still need you. Keep the lines of communication open. Do not accept “nothing” if your children are acting out of character.
Talk with your children until they talk with you and supply you with answers, do not let your concerns be swept under the rug. This period of transition will probably be stressful because of all the unknowns, but if you stay current of what is going on in the lives of your children as well as the internal workings of the school, everyone will be all right in the long run.