Making the transition from elementary school to middle school comes with a lot of change to your child's life. He will have several teachers instead of just one, a locker instead of a desk and new peers. This transition marks a pivotal moment in a child's life, which can cause stress and anxiety for both the child and his parents.
As a parent, you can help your preteen reduce stress by planning ahead for a smooth transition. Start by getting as much information as possible about the school and the child's expected experience. Use this summer to help your child prepare for what lies ahead, and be sure to stay in regular communication with him to manage anxiety throughout the process. Here are a few pointers to help alleviate stress leading into the new school year:
Make sure to register as early as possible. In some schools, the longer you and your child wait to register, the more difficult it becomes to get your first choice on classes, particularly elective courses. Enrolling early to make sure your child is in the classes he wants will help eliminate anxiety and heighten genuine excitement.
Visit the school.
Participate in any type of formal orientation offered by the school. If the school does not offer an orientation, call to arrange a tour for yourself and your child. Practice opening your child's combination locker together and do a trial run-through of his schedule. Practicing the routine will help your child feel more at ease on his first day.
Organize all necessary supplies.
Work with your child to organize all the notebooks and pencils needed for class the first day. Put together a daily planner with a school map with each classroom, the bathrooms and your child's locker clearly marked. Don't forget to include your child's class schedule to help him stay on track and on time.
Get into the habit of communicating on a daily basis.
Middle school is a time of great change for your child beyond the classroom. He she will be facing new social pressures that could lead to anxiety and stress. Get into the habit of communicating with your child, starting on the first day of school. Ask him about his day at school and what he learned that day. In the early weeks of class, help your child to organize events with friends from class. Give your child ample opportunities to get to know his peers outside of the classroom.
Stay involved for the long term.
Participating in parent-teacher organizations, attending parent conferences and volunteering at the school are all great ways to stay involved in your child's school life. Maintaining involvement at your child's school will further open the lines of communication between you and your child to lower stress levels throughout the year.
More back-to-school tips:
Published on July 12, 2010