With these new challenges, parents and teachers need to remember that for sixth, seventh, and eighth graders, high school may feel like it's looming in the not-so-distant future. These years are already challenging and full of change without the potential pressure of pursuing academic excellence during a pandemic. Emmanuel Lutheran School has been helping parents and students make the transition to high school for many years. In this article, we are providing five tips for making sure your middle schooler is ready for high school.
Helping Your Middle Schooler Make the Transition to High School
Helping your child make the transition from middle to high school begins as early as sixth grade.
1) Help Your Students Eat, Sleep, and Exercise
There is an increasing belief in a correlation between eating and sleeping well and cognitive ability. From UVA Today:
"There is pretty solid evidence that children who are hungry are not able to focus, so they have a low attention span, behavioral issues, discipline issues in the school," said Sibylle Kranz, an associate professor of kinesiology and a registered dietitian nutritionist in the Curry School.
Even though it is a time when bedtimes might be getting later, middle schoolers need plenty of sleep. If your child establishes poor sleep habits during their preteen years, they can carry over into high school. Fatigue can lead to increased stress, inability to focus, and thus hurt your child's ability to pursue academics with excellence. Help your child understand the importance of getting plenty of sleep.
Additionally, healthy food and exercise will go a long way toward improving your child's ability to study, learn, and focus. Make sure they are eating fruit and vegetables, whole-grains, and foods rich in protein. Put limits on television and video games and send them outside to play, ride bikes, and experience nature.
2) Help Your Child Study Well
Establishing healthy eating, sleeping, and exercise habits will go a long way toward helping them study effectively. If your middle schooler can master studying, they will excel in high school, college, and beyond. Unfortunately, the flip side is true; poor study habits will make their academic experience more challenging. Here are a few tips:
- Help them establish a devotional time with the Lord
- Create a quiet space for their study
- Minimize distractions
- Develop a daily routine
- Build breaks for stretching, exercise, and play
- Establish a calendar of assignments
- Establish a pattern of checking assignments together before their due date
- Develop relationships with teachers
Study habits your middle schooler develops today will follow them into high school and college.
3) Do Not Fret Over Changing Personalities
Your young child is becoming a teenager during their middle school years. That means there will be a cavalcade of new challenges. Be patient with your middle schooler during this season. You may consider interviewing parents of high schoolers and older children for advice on how to parent during the preteen and early teenage years.
4) Look for Learning Challenges
During middle school, it will likely become more apparent which subjects they enjoy. If your child is falling behind in a subject, it is vital to address it with their teachers sooner than later. Where your middle schooler is struggling, it will be essential to establish mentorships and tutoring.
If your child is showing signs of dyslexia or dysgraphia, the sooner it is diagnosed and addressed, the better. There are many resources to help children with these challenges. The more help you get, the more they will be able to excel.
5) Find Extracurricular Activities
ELS has fine arts and competitive athletics to engage middle school students beyond the classroom. Whether its music, theater, art, sports, or some combination of multiple activities, encourage your middle schooler to find something they enjoy and stick with it. If your child loves soccer or violin, they will have something to help relieve stress in high school, and skills that can serve them in college and beyond.
Your middle school student will begin to implement the things you have taught them throughout their early childhood years. That will be both rewarding and, at times, stressful. Nevertheless, these preteen and early teenage years are a time of fantastic growth. At Emmanuel Lutheran School, it is our mission to make sure middle schoolers are growing in Christian character to become leaders in their communities. If you want to know more about our school, contact us today.