From elementary to middle school: what changes and how to ease your child’s transition

From Elementary to Middle School; what changes and how to ease your child’s transition

Major changes can be exciting or daunting. The difference is often dictated by perspective and preparation. And the transition from elementary to middle school is no exception.

While many students are haunted by what this new school routine and lifestyle will bring them, the experience can be much easier through the right lenses and a prep plan. After all, their fear lies in the unknown—so getting familiar with the upcoming changes maximizes children’s ability to adapt.

To properly prepare for that transition, your child first needs to be aware of everything that will be new and different from elementary school. So here are the five most important differences they will encounter in middle school:

Multiple teachers: Most elementary students are used to working with the same teacher for all subjects. That means experiencing math and English, for example, through similar teaching methods. Once they start middle school, students suddenly have to adapt to working with several teachers who might have significant differences in their style of teaching.

Different classrooms: At most middle schools, having different teachers means having to move from one classroom to another as students navigate their day. And sometimes these classrooms are at the opposite side of the school. At each classroom, your child might also have a completely different set of classmates.

Having a locker: Having multiple classes with various teachers at different classrooms requires a range of textbooks and school materials. Because of that, your child should expect to have their own locker—where they can keep their stuff from other classes and extracurriculars.

More elective and extracurricular options: Middle schools usually offer a wider range of options when it comes to elective classes, sports, clubs, and other extracurriculars. This can be an exciting notion for students. After all, they get to spend more time after school involved in things they are passionate about. This is also great for sparking interest in new hobbies and activities.

Increased responsibility: Overall, middle schoolers have to be much more responsible than elementary school students. Now, your child will have to navigate a learning experience that includes multiple homework assignments, having to keep a locker clean and organized, and taking charge of their daily schedule by choosing from a range of electives and extracurriculars.

So how can you ease your child’s transition and help them prepare for a new stage of their academic lives?

It’s simpler than it seems. The answer lies in helping them develop executive functioning skills. These include time management, prioritization, and organizational skills, which all serve as the backbone of any A+ student’s habits.

While there are many ways to help your child develop executive functioning skills, we came up with our top 3 that are specific to transitioning from elementary to middle school. Check it out:

  1. Increase their responsibility at home: Your child will probably spend more time at home during the summer than they normally do. With that, you have the opportunity to assign them a few more chores and responsibilities, which will challenge them to evaluate priorities so they get everything done. This is as easy as it sounds: If all they have to do now is organize their room, add taking out the trash or doing the dishes once a week to their list. If they already do plenty, consider assigning specific deadlines for each chore to help them test their time management skills.
  2. Let them choose their summer activities from a wide range of options: Most children take part in several activities during the summer. Whether it’s club sports or music lessons, robotics camp or Boy/Girl Scouts activities, they are usually busy. This year, come up with a list of several options they can choose from and let them decide for themselves. Your child should get used to evaluating the pros and cons of each choice and then making the decision that best suits their goals.
  3. Use our Executive Functioning eBook: Earlier this year, we launched a free eBook with several tips, strategies, exercises, and worksheets to help students develop their executive functioning skills. We also host free webinars with professional tutors and industry professionals who are experts on helping your child become more self-reliant and independent—so consider signing up to learn the techniques they use to help students across the country succeed.

Ready to help your child have a smooth and easy transition? This is an exciting time in their lives, so make sure you stress that to them! Starting middle school is the perfect opportunity to start fresh, develop a growth mindset, and set yourself up for a lifetime of success. Good luck!