10 Tips for Parents of Middle School Aged Kids
1. If you and your child have fallen out of your bedtime routine this summer, get back into a solid routine! A week before the first day of school is a good time frame in which to begin.
2. Plan and shop for healthy breakfasts and lunches a week in advance. This will save you precious time and prevent much stress in the long run!
3. Go back to school shopping together. Most middle school teachers will provide specific lists of supplies for their classes. Your area’s office supply store may also have local school lists on hand. Shopping from a teacher-supplied list will ensure your child has the right supplies, and could save you a ton of money and time.
4. Starting middle school can mean a new building, lockers, and possibly moving from classroom to classroom for each subject. Pay a visit to your child’s new school the Saturday before opening day. A tour around the new campus can be a simple way to ease the first day jitters. Encourage your child to keep a small notebook with her where she can jot down reminders such as her locker combination or lunch time.
5. As much as you may dislike it, middle school is usually the time when fashion becomes important to kids. If you’re not already familiar with your school’s dress code, check your school’s website for a list of dos and don’ts. Take this opportunity to set clear guidelines about the type of clothes your pre-teens are permitted to wear, whether or not makeup is allowed, and talk about personal hygiene. Set clear standards with your child about her clothing allowance.
6. A move to middle or junior high school means more responsibilities. If you find that your child needs help managing his new middle school schedule, set up a daily assignment checklist to keep at home and review daily.
7. At this age kids may pull away and not talk to you as much. This type of middle school behavior can sometimes be influenced by peers or life changes—such as attending a new school. Continue to ask questions and be engaged with your kid. He needs you!
8. Around ages 11, 12, and 13, shifts occur in kids’ thinking. Keep them engaged in school and learning. Encourage their curiosity. Many are strongly influenced by friends; so if they have friends who only want to socialize and not learn, emphasize the importance of having friends and working hard to learn.
9. Because kids this age have strong emotions, they tend to either “love” school or “hate” it. If your child happens to “hate” school, help her identify parts that are more enjoyable—even if they are recess, gym, and lunch.
10. Most kids at this age think there is too much homework in middle school. Emphasize how homework helps kids learn. Do homework with them. Make it fun. Applaud their learning and new knowledge.
Learn more about how to support the school success of middle school aged kids.
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• Packaged hand wipes (to slip into lunch boxes)
• Freezer packs for lunch boxes
• Pocket tissue packs
• Gallon-sized, resealable plastic bags (for transporting items and art projects to and from school)
• Travel-sized umbrella or poncho
• USB or portable zip drive to transport work from home to school
• Set your alarm clocks ahead!
• Launder and iron clothes ahead of time
• Keep keys, outgoing mail, permission slips, or anything else you need to take with you in a basket at the front door.
• Keep a calendar or home agenda
• Bathe kids at night instead of during the morning rush
• Unless you’re an early riser, do not let household chores distract your morning mission!
• Baby carrots
• Celery sticks with low fat ranch or peanut butter dip
• Dried fruit (raisin boxes, dried banana or apple slices, dried fruit bars)
• Low-fat or reduced-fat cheese sticks
• 100% fruit juice boxes