Leaving the comforting and familiar confines of elementary school for the new experiences that come with attending middle school can be a daunting prospect for even the most outgoing of children. With new teachers, new fellow students, a new school, and new expectations to greet them, it’s no wonder most tween kids feel overwhelmed by the change. While it’s all a part of growing up, there are some ways parents can help to ease the transition.
How to Help Your Tween through Middle School
Provide a Listening Ear
By far, the most important thing a parent can do is be available when a child needs to talk. Some kids are forthcoming with their worries, while others need to be drawn into a conversation. The important thing to remember is to never diminish a child’s concern as trivial or unimportant. Anything that worries them deserves to be discussed, and is usually an opportunity for a parent to explain features of their new school and how it may differ from their old one. While change can often be intimidating to tweens, this is a chance for parents to accentuate the positive by pointing out the new experiences their child will have and how much they will grow and mature.
All of us have that weak area we need a bit more help on. If your child has concerns about an area of study or a physical skill they think is lacking, consider giving them some extra help over the summer before middle school is in session or enrolling them in weekend classes or an ongoing program. Extra help in English, mathematics, or even team sports can go a long way to providing a sense of accomplishment and a wonderful increase of self-esteem.
Like it or not, tweens are an age group that can often judge others by appearance. If your child feels self-conscious about a physical characteristic, it can sometimes keep them from being as extroverted as they would like. Sometimes a new haircut or new clothes can provide a boost to their self-esteem and give them confidence. Even if their style experiments have you cringing, let them try new things. This is also a good time to visit a orthodontist if kids are concerned about their teeth. There are options such as invisible braces that will give kids a beautiful smile without the obtrusive braces of the past.
With just these few basic strategies, parents can provide a sense of security for kids as they transition from childhood into the exciting and sometimes daunting tween stage.
Guest Post written by Brooke Chaplan. Brooke is a freelance writer and recent graduate of the University of New Mexico. She enjoys hiking, biking, running and blogging about many different subjects including family, home and fitness. Contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan
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