20 Ways to Help Your Child Succeed in Middle School
I used to be a 7th grade school teacher. I know middle schoolers well. For those of you moms who house junior high students, you’d agree these hormone raging humans face many challenges.
So how can you help them navigate through this three-year crucial journey? Here are twenty ideas I suggested to my incoming parents. Hope they help.
1. Explain this season of life. Discuss with your child what’s happening in their world: hormone changes, peer challenges, new learning adjustments, personal worth, and identity issues.
2. Honor what they emotionally desire. They need to be taken seriously. They crave independence over issues such as fashion and how to spend their free time and money.
3. Validate, validate, validate. They’re entering an insecure scary phase. Practice ways of building self-esteem, celebrating uniqueness, and instilling confidence.
4. Bring out the best. Let your child discover their own interests. Give them permission to make mistakes. Don’t neglect fun outings.
5. Practice peer pressure dialogue. Educate them on how to respond to other students when being improperly treated. Rehearse out loud the various scenarios with appropriate responses.
6. Give them time and space. Preteens are learning to regulate their emotions and might need alone time before they can properly express how they feel.
7. Teach with consequences. As a single mom, hold the line. Lay out expectations. Be consistent. Be quick to enforce. Make consequences age appropriate. Give positive reinforcement.
8. Send your child to school ready to learn. See to it that they have eight to nine hours of sleep and a nutritious breakfast.
9. Teach organizational skills. Time management is key. Provide a distraction-free study place. Show them study strategies. Make a daily to-do list.
10. Learn the school policies. Review with them the disciplinary rules, bullying policies, and consequences of cheating, fighting, or wrong use of electronic devices.
11. Encourage communication. Teach them to take charge of their academic success by communicating with their teachers by asking questions and requesting additional help.
12. Attend back-to-school night and parent-teacher conferences. Preteens do better in school when a parent is involved in their academic lives.
13. Meet the school counselor. Even if your child might not need this professional, make sure you both know them. They’re trained to help students with challenges concerning anxiety and behavioral difficulties.
14. Visit the school and its website. Review the school calendar, testing dates, deadlines for sports sign ups, and other activities.
15. Get involved. Follow your child’s cues to determine how much interaction works for you both.
16. Take attendance seriously. If they don’t want to attend school, find out why. Bullying issues? Changes in their body clocks? Academic stress?
17. Consider healthy outdoor activities: team sports or clubs. They need an outlet that encourages expression and peer belonging.
18. Find a church youth group. Church provides a loving supportive community and positive role models. Learning about God and his Word with peers strengthens their future pathway.
19. Pamper yourself. You help your child when you find ways to refresh yourself with healthy “me” time. Self-care is not selfish.
20. Pray. Pray. Pray. God is your greatest advocate. He loves your middle schooler more than you. You can trust him, lean on him, and expect him to grant insight and strength as a single mother. He promises to guide you through the season.
Mom, you are amazing! You have all you need to empower your middle schooler!