Graduating from grade school and transitioning into middle school is a big step for your child. It can also be a very scary, intimidating step. There are many new aspects of middle school that are very different from your child’s former school. New teachers, moving in between classrooms during the day, using lockers and meeting new people all at once can be overwhelming for young students. There are several steps you can take to help facilitate your child’s transition and to ease any fears or anxieties they may have.
- Get to know the school. The most obvious anxiety your child may have is simply from moving to a new school building. Your child has most likely spent many years in their old school and this will be the first time in a long time they will be moving to a new one. One way you can combat this fear is to introduce your child to his or her new school before classes start. Most schools will hold orientations you can attend with your child. You’ll be able to tour the new building, meet teachers, find your child’s classrooms, lockers and more. If your child’s school does not host a formal orientation, simply call the school and ask if you can schedule a time to bring your child in and explore the building on your own. Most schools will be more than accommodating.
- Encourage your child to get involved. Another fear your child may have is meeting and going to school with so many other new students, and moving from the top of the ladder to the bottom. Ease your child’s fears by reminding him or her that all of their old friends will be moving to middle school with them. Suggest that your child looks into joining a sports team, or a social or academic club that focuses on something they are interested in. This way your child will be able to meet new people in a friendly, welcoming environment where they will meet new people with like-minded interests.
- Prepare and Organize. Once your child has transitioned to a new building and has found new friends, there are still some anxieties that may arise. Your child will most likely be worried that the coursework will be substantially harder in middle school than in grade school. Simply remind your child that their coursework has always increased in difficulty and they have always handled it before. If your child still needs some convincing, spend some time developing a study and extracurricular schedule for them to follow, talk with them about good study habits, work on their organizational skills, etc. If your child feels organized they will feel more equipped to tackle their more difficult coursework.
Transitioning to a new school can feel like a scary and overwhelming step in your child’s life. Meeting new people and taking on new responsibilities can be stressful. Reminding your child that you are there to help them through this time and showing them how they can handle the transition will help ease your child’s fears and set them up for a successful middle school career.
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