As “back to school” approaches, I always get all the “feels” because as a former middle school teacher…I loved the back to school moments.
Yes, it could be stressful at times, to feel ready and prepared, but from a teacher’s perspective, I almost felt like I was ready to just get everything started.
I taught seventh grade, at my school, it was the first year of middle school.
I loved teaching seventh graders!
These cute twelve and thirteen year olds would walk into class bright eyed and bushy tailed…just excited to be part of the “older” crowd.
What’s even better?
Deep down, these middle schoolers were still just young kids….who really, REALLY cared about how they looked.
So I came up with some tips I would give out to all middle school parents.
Tips that I soaked in over seven years of teaching middle school.
And hopefully, this can help you as a parent prepare for the middle school years with less stress and more love.
7 Back to School Tips For Your Middle Schoolers:
- Just know, that your child does “care.” They are in that stage of caring about EVERYTHING to a fault. They care about their clothes, shoes, book bags, how much money is left in their lunch account, what color of elastics are on their braces. They care, and they care because they don’t quite realize that they are feeling vulnerable and insecure. So guess what…don’t harp on them for “caring” too much. More so, remind them how wonderful they are…build their self esteem more than you think you need to…and it just might still not be enough. We all went through the “caring” phase, so let your child go through it with grace.
- Don’t nag about their school work to the point of stress and frustration. Yes “A’s” are wonderful, and your students should not be flunking out…but from a teachers perspective, if your child is getting a B- or above… guess what? They understand the information enough to pass. Basically, don’t stress your child too much with grades, middle school is a learning curve and this is where they can learn to self-motivate or suffer the consequences. (it doesn’t go on transcripts too– that helps with the learning curve.)
- Be nice. In middle school, there is so much physical change let alone all the mental and emotional change. Just be nice and kind to your child.
- Talk to your children about “being a friend to everyone.” I don’t know if anything broke my heart more than seeing young middle school kids, all alone. Literally, seeing students sitting at lunch by themselves, with no on around them. It broke my heart and as a teacher I could do so little about it. The students and peers were the ones that could fix this…PLEASE tell your child to include others, the difference it can make is beyond words.
- Be the type of parent that is easy to talk to. These are the years where many questions come up for kids…if you are the friendly and approachable parent, it’s easier for your child to ask questions. That open communication is key!
- Smile. Every student has good days and bad days and I noticed that when I made a point to smile more around students that seemed down, it helped a bit. Even more, it reminded them that life is fun and it’s worth smiling about.
- Check-in with your child frequently. By this, I don’t mean that you need to sit them down for hours and learn about their entire day at once. However, it helps them more than they realize, to have someone checking in with how their day is, or how they are doing socially, mentally, or more. Frequent check-ins can be: “hey how was your favorite class?” “Hey how are you doing today?” “Do you want to talk about anything from school today?” The more you check in, the more your students will be able to navigate all the new, crazy, and exciting times they are experiencing.
In a nutshell….be your childs’ biggest supporter and cheerleader in middle school. Heck, in any year of school your child is in be their cheerleader, but especially in middle school.
And guess what?
They will do wonders and they will rock middle school!