Starting Middle School: What Your Child Will Need
Starting middle school is a critical milestone for your child. It’s the time when they would transition from childhood to adolescence. Expect them to be a lot less clingy to mom or dad and to constantly crave the company of their friends from now on.
Sadly, the pandemic may affect the experiences of your child in middle school. Before COVID-19, middle schoolers normally hung out in malls, parks and went to sleepovers. But now, since their age group is one of the most vulnerable to the virus, they may not enjoy the same things we did when we were their age.
Thankfully, middle school doesn’t have to feel less memorable for your child. As long as you meet their needs, they can have an epic middle school experience. But some of their needs might surprise you; after all, they’d be going through puberty already. That said, here’s what middle school does to child’s needs:
1. Girls May Feel the Need to Look Good
At this time, girls will start becoming more conscious of their looks. Boys will be the same, but the pressure tends to be stronger on girls. They could already have their first period, which they may be embarrassed about. What’s more, puberty causes breakouts and other physical changes, making young girls either love or hate how they’d look.
If they start demanding makeup or eccentric clothes, don’t discourage them. They’re just growing, and therefore discovering the first bouts of their womanhood. Just keep on giving them the wisdom to ensure that their superficial interests won’t lead to downright vanity.
2. Boys May Start Being Detached
Little boys are often clingy to their moms. But this adorable trait may abruptly stop in middle school. It’s completely normal; just like adolescent girls, adolescent boys become hormonal. They can switch attitudes frequently, clingy one moment then detached next.
They’ll be unpredictable, but don’t worry; it won’t last long. And during this phase, boys don’t need a scolding or lecture. They need some space and understanding. Like girls who start liking makeup, emotionally detached boys are just starting to discover their teenage boy instincts.
3. Anxiety About School
Some children don’t fare well in school, but they adjust after some time. In middle school, though, a child could experience a different kind of anxiety. They often go to a new school at this time, so they’d be exposed to an unfamiliar environment. And as adolescents, they worry about not having friends.
Not only that, but they might be afraid of getting sick as well. If your child insists that they’d be better off learning from home, consider remote classes. Look for reputable online charter schools to ensure that they’ll get the best quality of education. That way, they can focus on their studies instead of their social anxiety. An entire virtual school year can give them a safer space for socializing and getting comfortable with their class.
4. Their Subjects Will Require More Things
In grade school, kids don’t normally wear a uniform for gym class or have lockers. They don’t change classrooms for each subject, too. But in middle school, they’ll experience all of that, so they’d need more school stuff.
First off, they’d have more books, which is why middle schools have lockers. The locker is also where they’d keep their gym uniform. And regarding the changing of classrooms, your child may find this fun, as the time spent moving to a new classroom can be for socializing.
But there are downsides to middle school requirements. More requirements mean more schoolwork. Your child will be a lot busier, and if they don’t enjoy studying, they may not try at all. So if they’re having a hard time, be there to help them instead of criticizing them. They’re still a bit attached to their carefree childhood days, so they aren’t used to a load of schoolwork yet.
5. A New Social Environment Will Change their Priorities
Middle school is where kids start making deeper friendships. As such, you may often find them on their phones, chatting, or FaceTiming with their friends. They’d want to go out more frequently, too, meeting their friends in their house or a hangout spot. If your house becomes the designated hangout, expect a ruckus in their room or basement each time.
Because of their tightly-knit friendships, your child may start feeling less enthusiastic about Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter with your family. Don’t take this personally. Teens would rather have fun the way they want to, and they view adults as a restriction. Instead of obsessively monitoring your kid’s social life, just let them enjoy it, as long as you’ve made sure that they aren’t in the wrong company.
Your child’s middle school experiences may affect their adulthood, so help them make it one of the best phases in their lives. Being a cool parent doesn’t mean spoiling your child, after all.