Moving from elementary school to middle school is hard for anyone. Your middle schooler may feel overwhelmed, anxious and even scared to walk the halls of middle school. Depending on the setting, they could be in a new building. They could be with other kids they have not met yet. And, they could be the youngest around after being the oldest in their former school. When it comes time to make the move, be sure you are doing all you can to help them adjust.
The most common words you will hear from your middle schooler will start with the word “no.” This is normal and to be expected. The fact is, middle school is also a time when you start to explore yourself, forging your own way and getting to do things on your own, without mom and dad to help you through. When you ask your child if they would like your help, and they tell you no, realize this is a good sign. They are trying to work through their problems on their own, which should be a sign of good intentions.
On the other hand, you may hear a change in the discipline of your child during the middle school years. They may be more willing to talk back and may question your authority. Realize that this too is a sign of being independent and do not take it to heart. Most parents will still want to enforce the rules, as a family you should not feel that changes are necessary for your middle school kid.
It Isn’t Just The Building
There are many other changes happening for your middle school kid, too that have nothing to do with the school itself. Suddenly, boys are cute and girls look pretty. And, of course, puberty is in full swing, which means lots of raging hormones and misunderstood topics. You can help your child through these situations by simply being informative but not pushy. Ensure they have had the opportunity talk with you about puberty and that you have answered their questions. Give them guidance when you can without being too over the top about it. The fact is, your child will feel embarrassed and if you push them too far, you could push them away.
For many boys, puberty brings on more aggression and anger. This often happens at school. If you find your child is acting out more, realize that it may be normal, but that does not mean it is allowable. Talk with your school about potential problems and get them under control. Middle schoolers do need guidance and often need more reassurance of the rules than kids younger than them.
School itself will change for your middle school child, too. A variety of school issues change too. Here are some things to prepare your child for leading up to middle school.
• Let them know that the demand for work will be higher during their middle school years than during their elementary years. This is also a time to talk with them about grades and the importance of them.
• Talk with your child about the increased amount of social activities and after school activities, they will have more exposure. Set limits on what they can do including what affect it can have on their grades.
• Let them know that they are going to have more responsibilities in school. For example, your child will be more responsible for finding their way from classroom to classroom. They will need to remember which books to bring home, as their teachers won’t be helping them.
Moving into middle school can be a lot of fun, too. Your children are going to meet new people and start growing into their own people. You may find this a good time for bounding, but more than likely your child will want more freedom to do the things that interest them. They may want to go to the mall with friends or meet their friends at the arcade. Realize that all of your hard work in talking to them and teaching them over the last few years is going to come into play now. In most cases, they will enjoy being a middle schooler, and you may enjoy them, too.
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Preparing your child for kindergarten can be one of the most anxiety filled situations for you. For them, it is an opportunity to go to school, which most children see as a positive situation. Remember that your child’s first teacher is you, not their kindergarten teacher. This means that you have the ability to build their cognitive, emotional and social behaviors and abilities prior to the day they start school. Several small things you can do will have a big impact on your child during their first years of formal education.
Children in preschool are learning to read. Studies have shown that children are able to comprehend and take in much more information and skill training prior to turning six. This shows that children as young as four can start learning to read. You don’t necessarily have to teach your child to read prior to their start of school, though. Kindergarten students will learn those skills. Yet, by reading to them, you start to form the connection and importance of reading with them. Ultimately, this is what will lock in the willingness and interest in reading.
Plan to read to your child each day. A short story, bedroom story or anything else can help to encourage them to learn to read and to be willing to read. Research shows that parents who read to their children are likely to have kids that read and do well in school. A visit to the library is all it takes to get started.
Educate Your Child On Their Surroundings
Go for a walk with your child and listen to the questions they have. They will ask about the grass, the bugs and the clouds. These are all small parts of their environment that they need to become familiar with. Talking to your child about these aspects will allow them to develop good language skills, interpretative skills and can lead to a child that is more inquisitive.
Encourage Language Development
Using the correct terminology for everything they deal with on a daily basis is also important. Children will often confuse pronouns, “this” and “that” and other small things in their language. Correct them and allow them to develop these skills over time. It will help them to communicate better in Kindergarten.
Develop Motor Skills
Fine motor skills like cutting and coloring in the lines are skills that are developed from the first times your child picks up a pair of scissors or a coloring book. These skills also lead to their ability to write well. To prepare your child for kindergarten, focus on giving your child tasks and games to play where they are encouraged to cut, smash play dough and play with finger-paint. Developing find motor skills is an essential part of being ready for school.
Larger motor skills are just as important. Riding a bike, playing sports and balancing on a balance beam are all helping to develop your child’s coordination. These too will lead to better Kindergarten skills.
Know What’s Expected
In order to be ready for kindergarten, you will need to work with your child and the child’s school. Find out what your school requires of children entering into kindergarten. This may include the ability to do several things:
• Communicate to a level where others understand them
• Knows how to wash his hands, takes off his coat, and ties his shoes
• Can handle going to the bathroom on his own
• Plays well with other children
• Picks up after themselves and shares their toys with others
• Follows directions when given by a teacher
• Expresses ideas
• Knows their colors, ABC’s and basic shapes, can count to ten
• Listens when others are speaking to him and does not interrupt
• Recognizes his name (can write his first name)
• Can concentrate on a task for at least ten minutes
Some schools have a more restrictive curriculum requirement for students entering into kindergarten. Meet with the school at least a year in advance to insure your child is prepared. In addition, work with preschool teachers to find out if there is anything, your child needs help on that they may now the child needs for kindergarten readiness.
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