New schools are scary. Gone are the days of the one room schoolhouse, so most kids have to transition to a new school at least a couple of times during their educational journey. Growing up, my rural town used every available space to house their students.
To start, I attended Nursery School in Day Hall, then went on to Kindergarten in the Synagogue. First and second grades were in the Federated Church, but third grade was in the Arts & Sciences Building (today’s Town Hall). We started fourth grade in Central School, but mid-year they completed Halls Hill Elementary School, and we finished up there. Fifth and sixth grades were back in Central School. Seventh and eighth grades were in the new junior high wing of the high school. Finally, ninth through twelfth grades were in the high school.
That was nine new schools over 14 years for me!
You’d think that by the time we reached the high school, that we’d all be accustomed to adjusting to a new school, but each change came with its own uncertainties and speculations. Although we eventually adjusted, to varying degrees, new schools were still scary.
Dealing with a new school is one of the more common inquiries I get when moms are questioning their parenting processes. Do you still have that How To Manual that came with your child? No? Don’t worry. I can help.
An Awesome Mom’s Question
I’m a mom to one amazing girl who is 11, and will be entering middle school in a couple of months. I’m super excited for her, but nervous at the same time, since we don’t know what next school year will look like. I would like to help my daughter adjust as best as possible in the transition from elementary school to middle school. Any advice?
Awesome Advice for Moms of New Middle Schoolers
Do I have advice? You bet I do!
The first thing to tell her (and yourself) is to not worry about next year. You got this! Just enjoy the summer.
The second thing you do is schedule a walk through the school in July, just you and her (plus a map of the school).
Focus on locating structures, like:
- where various exits lead
- the gym
- sports fields
- locker rooms
- computer labs, etc.
Then schedule a follow-up visit to the school once she gets her course schedule.
- find her classrooms
- (and hopefully) her locker
- review the previous visit
These two visits should be done in addition to the one the school offers for orientation. That will make a total of 3 visits before the first day of school. Familiarity will make a huge difference in her comfort level and her ability to adjust to her new surroundings.
Another strategy is to connect with another mother whose student is a grade higher than your daughter. Pick her brain about what she did to help her child adjust. Inquire as to any pitfalls you can help your child avoid at her new school.
And, what about your experience? Never minimize the benefits of your own personal experiences. You’ve gone through plenty of transitions in your life. Think back on how you felt, how you dealt, and how you eventually reached your own level of comfort in your new surroundings.
Regardless of how you handled it back then, your daughter or son has an advantage. They got you in their corner when they’re facing their new school.
You got this, Mommy!
Have fun with your kids today!
This advice applies to the transition to any new school, from Kindergarten to College, not just Middle School. The more familiar the surroundings, the easier it is to succeed.
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You can also find a lot more in-depth information on this topic in my book, How To Keep Your Daughter From Slamming the Door.
About the Author
Are you overwhelmed or frustrated with your role as a parent? Deborah Ann Davis (B.S. in Science Education, M.Ed. in Supervision, and W.I.T.S Personal Trainer Certified) is a parenting coach and strategist who can help you sort things out.
Whether you’re looking to bring more positivity into your life, or you’re ready to seek the advice of a Parenting Coach, she’s eager to help you put happiness back into parenting.
Deborah has decades of experience dealing with teenagers – as a mother, and as an educator. Over the years, she has helped hundreds of families, using her expertise.
Learn how to improve your mother-daughter relationship today. Every minute you delay prolongs the isolation your child feels while disconnected from you. She’s waiting for you to figure it out, so why not skip the “trial and error” parenting route?
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