Childhood is all about transitions. Crawling to walking. Training wheels to two wheels. And, seemingly just a moment after that, elementary school to junior high. This transition can feel frightening, especially going from one school setting to another.
Parents who support their kids through these childhood transitions empower them to approach the challenges of adulthood with confidence. Other important adults in children’s lives, including their teachers, can help encourage successful transitions as well.
“Little Kids, Little Problems.”
It’s a common adage among parents, along with “Just wait! They’ll be teenagers one day!” While a baby screaming all night is in no way a little problem to an exhausted parent, there is some truth that with the teen years and young adulthood come challenges with greater consequences: grades, peer pressure, and susceptibility to more dangerous risks. However, helping a child navigate smaller transitions will help them handle the bigger transitions down the road with less stress and greater confidence.
One Giant Leap to Junior High
Students who make the transition to junior high or middle school with confidence will find later transitions, like those to high school or college, much easier to handle. It may be harder for parents and their kids to take junior high school as seriously as high school because the grades don’t “count” by showing up on transcripts sent to college. However, a student who approaches junior high with a well-rounded background of academic learning and personal development will reap benefits for years to come.
Many students spend much of their junior high years navigating insecurities about adjusting to a larger student body, a greater number of teachers throughout the day, and more rigorous academic demands. A student who can make a bold leap to junior high with that confidence already in place will hit the ground running and excel.
How Parents Can Help
Parents can help their kids make that leap to junior high easier by building structure and safety into the home routine. Create a homework area that is peaceful and comfortable while still within reach of adults who can help. Emphasize effort and improvement over percentage points. Fight fatigue with nutritious snacks and opportunities for exercise. Set limits on device and screen time while also creating opportunities for kids to make smart decisions on their own within periods of “free time.” When you see an area for improvement, always approach the topic with positive affirmations first so that the child feels confident about learning from their mistakes.
Helping your student navigate the transition to junior high while living under your roof will give them the confidence to transition from high school to college later. If they feel they aren’t alone now, they won’t feel alone years down the road, even if you’re not physically there.
How School Can Make a Difference
Schools like Discovery School that use the Primary Years Program can prepare students to make the transition to junior high with confidence and success. Graduates of holistic learning programs arrive more confident, academically prepared, and socially connected than their peers from traditional school backgrounds.
From making presentations in front of the entire school to getting involved with local sports with their peers, Discovery students develop leadership skills that make the middle school transition exciting, not intimidating. Combined with support from parents, the school environment prepares them to soar.
Is your child ready for the challenges of middle school and beyond? We’d love to talk with you to share how we can help your budding student grow into a lifelong learner. Contact us for more information or schedule a tour!