Parents of tweens that are going from elementary school to middle school may feel like they know what to expect and can count on their little darling to handle the situation in stride. In reality, however, the transition is often a huge one that feels like a milestone for kids and can make life feel like a roller coaster for the whole family for a while. As the summer winds down and the countdown to the first day of school begins, here are few things that may help make the transition easier.
Discuss Your Child’s Feelings
Your child is likely going through an overwhelming barrage of emotions as they come closer to their first day at middle school. Children may be excited that they are growing up, afraid to go to a brand new school, anxious about interacting with mainly kids older than themselves, sad about leaving younger friends behind, and worried about many things that don’t even pertain to the education they will actually be receiving at the school.
Just asking how kids are feeling may not be enough, it may help for you to be more direct and ask questions like “Are you excited to go to a new school? Are you leaving any friends behind?” Just showing compassion and showing that you understand that they are going through big changes may provide some much needed reassurance.
Be Prepared for “Phases”
Due to the stress associated with starting a new school, some kids may begin exhibiting different behaviors. Some will act out, while others may withdraw or clam up. Kids may also test their boundaries, since they are at a new school with many people they don’t know and have the opportunity to create a new perception of who they are. It is important to remember that these are products of the emotions they are experiencing. While the behavior should not be ignored, it is important to take the time to figure out the root of the problem.