by: posted Thursday, August 11, 2011
Category: Behavior, Education
Teary-eyed kindergarteners who thought their school buses would carry them away forever have grown up and adjusted to teachers and homework by the time they finish elementary school.
But then they start middle school and are no longer with the same teacher in the same class all day. Cliques are forming. Recess is a thing of the past.
Child and adolescent psychology experts offer these ten tips to help you help your child make the big move.
1. Tour the school ahead of time
Once you get the schedule, do a walk-through. “Go with them and point out, ‘This is where this class is and then you walk to this one.’ It can be very reassuring for kids who are anxious,” said Marcia Gelman, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Mechanicsburg.
2. Write all assignments in one notebook
Parents should not be surprised if their child seems forgetful the first few weeks because they’re not used to having multiple teachers. “When they have too many notebooks they get scatterbrained,” said Laurie Pittman, a Camp Hill child and adolescent psychologist.
3. Encourage participation in extracurricular activities
Middle school is a time to try new things. Lauren Hazzouri, who works with children and adolescents in Scranton, suggests that every child be involved in at least two activities — one athletic and one artistic. Extracurricular activities help kids make friends and improve self-esteem. “If I’m proud that I made the basketball team or am getting better at clarinet, I’m not really focused on if I’m getting hips,” Hazzouri said.
4. Tell your kid to smile and say “hey”
“‘Hey’ is the magic 3-letter word in middle school,” Pittman said. “It’s a great way to meet new friends.”
5. Advocate physical activity after school
In middle school, kids no longer have recess and may be tired when they come home from school. “Discourage napping because their tiredness is most likely a sign they need more physical activity,” Pittman said. “They need to burn that energy that they used to burn at recess.”
6. Eat dinner as a family
Studies show that sharing meals strengthens relationships, and kids who feel close to their parents are more likely to open up when they’re having a hard time. “You will be surprised at how much information your child will share with you about their school and friends during these meals,” said Dr. Senel Poyrazli, associate professor of counseling psychology at Penn State Harrisburg.
7. Be aware of what your kid’s doing online
In middle school, kids are given more assignments that require using a computer. “Parents think they’re kids are just doing homework but they might be on Facebook talking to some creep who’s using a pseudonym,” Hazzouri said. “Realize that in middle school kids still need a lot of parenting and it’s OK to pry a little and check on homework.”
8. Make sure your child gets enough sleep
Preteens need as much as 10 hours of sleep, and not getting enough can hurt their success in school. “When they’re not monitored, they might answer a text at 2 a.m.,” Pittman said. “A lot of kids put their phones on vibrate and that teaches their brain to sleep lightly.” Another incentive? “Nothing helps acne like a good night’s sleep.”
9. Teach the Golden Rule
The reality of middle school is that kids will form cliques and some kids will feel excluded. “Kids may just want to be liked, but you want to teach them to be an advocate for others,” Hazzouri said.
“It’s great for kids to learn to look around for someone who might need a friend,” Gelman adds.
10. Don’t be overly reassuring
Parents can actually induce anxiety in kids with excessive reassurances. “If you step into my office and I say, ‘Don’t worry the ceiling isn’t going to fall on your head,’ I’m bringing something up you probably weren’t even worried about,” said David Palmiter, Marywood University professor, clinical psychologist, and author of “Working Parents, Thriving Families: 10 Strategies That Make a Difference.”
“It’s easy to over-imagine how much assistance our kids need. That said, some kids have anxious temperaments and need more help.”
Learn more: “Working Parents, Thriving Families: 10 Strategies That Make a Difference” By Dr. David J. Palmiter Jr.
FULL Source: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2011/08/back_to_school_how_to_prepare.html