For those of you that have been with me since the beginning of modernmami, it may come as a shock to know that my “baby girl” has probably outgrown that moniker since she is officially a tween and about to enter middle school! (Let’s not kid ourselves – she’ll still be my baby girl.) As she embarks on her journey into 6th grade, we’ve been doing a lot of talking about this transition from elementary school to middle school. While she’s understandably a little nervous, she’s also very much excited. The same goes for her father and I! To help our tween transition from elementary to middle school, we’ve been putting a few ideas into practice and will be helping her get organized for back to school in the coming weeks! With Staples as our back to school supplies partner, let me share a few of our ideas to get your tween back to school ready!
5 Tips to Help Your Tween Transition from Elementary to Middle School
It seems so simple, but I think that talking can often be overlooked as a way to help our children (especially if you have a reluctant talker). However, I also think that talking is probably our #1 strategy in helping our daughter transition with changes. For her, it works even when she hesitates to open up. I do realize this isn’t what works best for all children, but I do think that a few conversations spread out about the transition from elementary to middle school can go a long way. Consider discussing anything from logistical aspects (lockers, many teachers, schedule changes, etc.) to broader topics like upcoming emotional and social changes.
Go Beyond Basic School Supplies
In elementary school it can be the norm to buy school supplies for the classroom without labeling for the individual students and teachers then distribute supplies during the first week of school. For that reason, I would always buy standard school supplies without prints or much personalization. Now that my tween is headed to middle school and the set-up is different, her school supplies can match more of her personal style! And wow – there are plenty of trendy and affordable school supplies at Staples for her to choose from! She loved all the cute colors, designs, and prints for notebooks and binders, plus the variety of writing supplies. She really does take after me when it comes to stationery and accessories! Armed with the proper tools and perhaps with school supplies that can spark up conversation with new friends, your tween’s transition from elementary to middle school may be that much smoother!
Connect with Classmates Ahead of Time
The switch from elementary to middle school comes with children attending a variety of schools and many friends being split up. To help ease this layer of anxiety for your tween, consider finding neighbors whose children will be attending the same school as your tween. Or perhaps help your child connect with those friends that are attending the same school so they can compare class schedules for the upcoming school year. We’ve begun doing this and I can see my daughter is having fun seeing which acquaintances or friends she can expect to see on the bus ride to school or in class on that first day of school!
Help them Get Organized
Gone will be the days of teachers telling your child how to organize their notebooks and binders! What work are they expected to turn in and on which day? Your tween is now responsible for knowing all this information and keeping track of it on his/her own because middle school teachers do not hand-hold like elementary school teachers. To prepare your tween, encourage organization for their first middle school year with a planner. My daughter and I loved the fun prints and messages in the Erin Condren products available at Staples! There was an academic planner that stood out since it provided space for tracking projects and exams, assignments by class, and general monthly activities. If the Erin Condren line is not a good fit for your tween, you can explore the vast variety of planners and calendars available at Staples and find a system that works to help your tween be organized this back to school season!
Visit the New School
I believe that nearly every school has a school orientation or meet and mingle day prior to the first day of school. Take advantage of this day for your budding middle schooler so he/she can meet teachers, see where classrooms are located, and generally begin to get accustomed to the new school. For my daughter’s back to school orientation night, they’ll be able to go through the process of going through their schedule period by period, which will be so helpful!
I’m confident that these ideas we’ve been working on this summer will help our tween transition from elementary to middle school. She will be armed with literal tools in the form of trendy school supplies that did not break our bank (yay!) as well as armed with mental and organizational tools to get her school year started on the right track. If only all things were this easy when raising tweens…
Do you have a rising middle schooler? How are you helping your tween transition from elementary to middle school?
All photos © Melanie Edwards/modernmami™
Disclosure: In collaboration with Staples, I have been compensated for my time and effort in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.