Although has passed, April brings an equal level of intense activity for tweens and their parents. As the school year draws to a close for many elementary students, middle school looms on the horizon. Orientation nights attempt to acclimate parents and their tween-age children to the challenges facing them in the fall. Often both parents and tweens leave these meetings filled with new questions, growing anxiety and few resources to draw on in the months leading up to the school year.
Here's a middle school that goes above and beyond to help new students feel relaxed and confident about their transition. Small groups of elementary students join 8th grade mentors to explore and discuss some of the challenges they can expect to face in the coming year. The reviews from students were incredible. Elementary students felt less anxious and more confident about the year ahead after their orientation session with the 8th grade students. The subtle change from parent orientation night to student exploration day had a profound effect on the anxiety associated with the middle school transition. Whether your middle school offers an orientation night or day of exploration here’s a few additional ideas to consider as you prepare for the months ahead.
5 Tips for Relieving Middle School Stress
- Call the middle school and schedule a 20-minute meeting for you and your child to meet with a counselor. Often the one-on-one meeting will answer most of your questions and concerns.
- Buy a desktop calendar, and practice using it. The desktop calendar is a wonderful tool for families to track activities. Middle school marks the beginning of a new era of potential chaos. Using a family desktop calendar gives everyone a quick reference point for what's coming up.
- Plan 20 minutes into your schedule each week to talk about middle school with your tween. Creating a regular time to talk lays the foundation for ongoing conversation and a closer relationship—two challenges most parents struggle with during the teenage years.
- Create a list of your parent concerns and questions about the coming year. Does your tween have the same concerns or questions? Talk about shared questions, but refrain from bringing concerns to the discussion that may be rooted in parental anxiety. Your goal is to reduce your tween’s stress not add to it.
- Do your homework! Take a trip to Amazon.com or your local bookstore and browse the list of titles in the parenting section. Here are a few recommended books for both parents and tweens.