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Back to School Series: Going Back to Middle School

Back to School Tips for Middle Schoolers

Going back to school can be stressful at any age, but different age groups present different challenges. In many ways, these challenges are never clearer than in the middle school age group.

Whether your child is entering the 6th grade, or returning to middle school, students are dealing with back to school stress and the challenges that come with the onset of puberty. Today we'll explore this new dimension of back to school stress for tweens and offer some helpful tips to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Talk about the transition into middle school

The Denver Post interviewed school counselor Suzanne Wendorf, and she has some useful wisdom to offer parents, describing the transition to middle school as the biggest students will make throughout their education. She explains, “[Starting middle school is] even bigger than going to college … By the time kids go to college, they're older, and they can handle it. Eleven- and 12-year-olds are very young.”

Your child might have six to eight classes, a locker, more difficult classes, a much larger school, and more. And that doesn't include the differences in the student body, which will vary dramatically based on how each young student develops throughout their adolescence.

With all these new changes, it's no wonder entering middle school can be so frightening. That's why it's so important to talk to your child about what middle school might be like. Explain the changes in their physical environment, the new academic expectations, and even the changes that coincide with their growing bodies (including how their friends might grow and change).

Throughout your talks, always encourage them to ask questions, too!

Adjust to new school schedules before the school year begins

Going to middle school means a new schedule, one that begins much earlier than elementary school schedules. Consider adjusting to these earlier wake-up times at least a week or two before the school year starts.

This allows your child to practice getting ready so that they'll always be on time.

Have honest discussions about the tough stuff, like bullying

Bullying and harassment from peers tends to escalate in middle school. When your young student enters middle school, their worldviews continue to deepen and gain complexity. They'll be exposed to different mindsets, ethnicities, religions, personalities, and more. This can often lead to bullying.

Preparing your child for these inevitabilities can make a huge difference in how they feel about school. Talk to your child about bullying and discrimination , and let them know that they can always seek out an adult if they need help. Sometimes, regular reminders that they aren't in this alone can make all the difference.

If you're looking for more tips about easing back to school anxiety, be sure to read this helpful article for more suggestions.