You’re reflecting on your child’s past school year and you’re concerned. You were constantly nagging him to turn in his assignments, he picked fights with his peers, and you got a note from his teacher about behavioral issues one too many times.
This may lead you wondering…. is my child ready for middle school?
Your child has a three month stretch during the summer so why not figure out what skills he needs to have to succeed?
Here are the 4 top skills your child should have so he’ll be ready for middle school:
1.Study skills: Middle school is full of higher homework expectations.The assignments are more complex, and often require more dedication and time. Tests are going to have more weight in how your child is graded too, so test taking skills and how to study for tests will be a good skill to have.
2. Organizational skills: Your child will be juggling multiple classes, with multiple workloads. And if he participates in after school activities, that will take up a big part of his schedule too. The abilities to manage time and prioritize tasks are pertinent now more than ever. Also, backpack, locker, and desk organization are key too!
3. Behavioral control skills: This is especially essential. Middle schools have a zero tolerance policy for fighting. Teachers will have little patience, and will spend less time correcting the behavior, and won’t hesitate to send him to the office for even the most minor of infractions. A push in elementary school that led to a lecture about being a friend can now turn into a suspension.
4. Social skills: Many elementary schools funnel into the middle school your child will be attending, which means new opportunities for friends…and frenemies. Knowing how to be a friend, as well knowing how to be friendly to peers who aren’t friends, will benefit your child immensely. Also, knowing how to address peer pressure when all your child wants to do is fit in is one of the most critical skills of all. This one in particular takes time and attention on your part.
Bottom line: You’re probably asking yourself right now “So what if my child is lacking some of these skills?” Fear not. Childhood is about the development of skills, not magically getting them overnight (although that would be great, wouldn’t it?). With your encouragement over the next three months, your child will have a good start to his first year in middle school.
Check out next week’s post for specific strategies to help your child develop these skills over the summer break.
Please comment below: What skills do you feel your child needs to get ready for middle school? How are you helping him or her prep?
Jenmarie Eadie is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who is passionate about helping children to become less stressed by giving them and their parents tools, support and encouragement. She received her Master’s in Social Work from Arizona State with a dual concentration in Children, Youth, and Families; and Behavioral Health. Her proudest accomplishment is following her dream of opening up a practice that is designed to focus on the whole family. She currently serves families in Southern California.