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Posted: August 16, 2019, 12:00am by Kathleen Nelson-Simley
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Helping Your Parents Transition to Middle School With Their Student

A new school year has already started for some kids while for others it will begin in the coming weeks.

I was watching the kids walk to the nearby elementary school for the start of a new school year on Monday and it brought back memories of the first day of school with my two kids.

Both of my kids are now young adults, but the memories of their first day of a new school year are still vivid in my mind. Some of the memories make me sad as I yearn to have that first day of school experience with them again. But, there’s also a few memories of the first day of school I would prefer not to re-live.

One of them was my son’s first day of middle school. We went to his school’s open house a few days before school was to start. He was anxious, excited, but also nervous. I was, too. We took a tour of his new school, found his classrooms, met his teachers and did a trial run on opening his locker. All went well and when we left the open house I felt more reassured about him going to middle school.

It was the night before school was to start and my kids went through their usual routine of getting their backpacks ready and deciding on what they were going to wear before they went off to bed for the night. About an hour passed when my son came out of his bedroom and into mine.

Now, here’s one thing you need to know about my son. When something is weighing heavy on his mind or he has to admit to a wrong he did, it’s almost always an hour after he goes to bed that he wants to confess or talk about it. When I saw him come into my bedroom that night I was surprised, but also worried. What did he do now that he was about to confess to me?

I asked him what was wrong and he paused and then said, “Mom, I’m worried.” I asked him what he was worried about and he said, “Going to middle school tomorrow.” (Whew! He didn’t have a confession!) I asked him what he was worried about and he said, “The big 8th graders.”

Little did I know that when he saw the big 8th graders at the open house he became even more worried and scared. It didn’t even cross my mind that 8th graders would be his biggest worry on his first day of middle school. We had a good conversation and even though I reassured him all would be fine, deep down, I didn’t know if it would be.

Driving up to the front of the middle school the next morning and watching him nervously get out of the car was one of the hardest things I had to do and watch. Even harder was driving away and trusting he would be just fine.

Moving from elementary to middle school is one of the hardest transitions for kids to make. Parents can play a critical role in successfully guiding their child through the transition.

This week’s blog, Making the Transition, offers some insights and tips you can share with your parents on how they can support their child as they move from elementary and into middle school.

My son survived that first day of middle school and so did I. It wasn’t easy. But in hindsight, I should have known it would be hard. My professional training expertise is with middle school teachers and students. So, if it was challenging for me to transition with my son to middle school, I can’t imagine how difficult it is for other parents who are new to the middle school experience.

I hope my blog offers your parents the reassurance they are seeking and needing as they transition to middle school with their child.

Wishing them (and you!) an exciting and rewarding school year!

Kathleen

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