Going to middle school is a huge transition for kids and parents. Having a new school, new friends and new classes can be exciting but also challenging.
Facing so much change for the first time while undergoing a lot change physically can be difficult for some children at this age.
For a good laugh and a pretty accurate view of the transition your kids may be facing, check out this trailer from the movie “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”:
So as a parent, how do you help your 6th grader adjust to this time of growth? Take a look at these 4 tips on how how to adjust to middle school as a parent.
1. Make it natural to connect
Keep these words in your heart that I am telling you today. Do your best to teach them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road and when you lie down and when you get up.Deuteronomy 6:6-7 NLV
Let your middle schooler relate to you! One of the biggest things kids need at this age is to learn to talk about their emotions as they go. This scripture talks about teaching kids about God and the Bible not just during a formal devotional or church service, but as you go through your day and your life.
Use natural times to connect like pick-up and drop off from school, dinner time and before bed. Don’t put pressure on these times to be deep or intense; start small. Share about your day, feelings, heart and what helped you overcome a challenge, find hope, or grow. Good topics to ask about are academics, their friends, pressures, and interests.
2. Create simple routines
Therefore prepare your minds for action; discipline yourselves; set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you…1 Peter 1:3 NRSV
Discipline is an important part of middle school success. Creating simple routines will help prepare your pre-teen for their future and make them feel more confident in their abilities. Does your middle schooler have a routine after school? Even something as simple as knowing that they are going to come home, take a break, and then do homework will help your middle schooler learn to take on their new responsibilities.
Middle school is a great time to begin using a planner, nightly check list, or a schedule which includes homework, extracurricular activities and chores. Help your middle schooler begin to learn to be independent and build their confidence that they can be successful.
3. Encourage good choices, not perfection
You are tempted in the same way all other human beings are. God is faithful. He will not let you be tempted any more than you can take. But when you are tempted, God will give you a way out so that you can stand up under it.1 Cor 10:13 NIRV
In middle school, kids face a great amount of peer pressure and insecurity. Wanting to fit in and be accepted can become a strong desire. Now is the time more than ever to help them build a conviction about making healthy choices.
One simple things parents can do is make it normal to talk about temptations. Talk about your own temptations, and don’t panic if your kids talk about theirs. Kids who grow up going to church often don’t like to admit their desires to do “bad” things. But, temptation is normal and hiding it only makes it grow.
Help your kids know they don’t have to be perfect. Help them understand we all face choices each day and they can choose to respond to pressures and challenges in healthy ways.
4. Take pressure off
I will provide for their needs before they ask, and I will help them while they are still asking for help..Isaiah 65:24 (NCV)
As parents we can feel anxiety about our middle schoolers being successful, and our kids usually pick up on that. Typically, middle school is their first time receiving letter grades, having more than one teacher, and trying out for sports. Rather than adding more pressure to our kids’ lives, we need to find creative ways to take the pressure off.
Teaching your kids to to ask for help from God and their teachers can relieve stress. Make sure your home is fun, express confidence to them, and always have continual vision for who they can become. Middle schoolers need to be cheered on and given tons of support!