Are you feeling caught between the excitement that comes from finishing the elementary school years and the anxiety of starting middle school next? Resist the temptation to join the middle school mayhem until you have officially celebrated your child's achievements over the past year.
Here are a few ways to recognize your child's effort and achievements while simultaneously propelling you both into an incredible summer and a motivating start to school next fall.
1. Celebrate Summer. Plan ahead for the last day of school. How does your child like to celebrate success? Grandiose parties and lavish gifts may not mean as much as a family dinner at his favorite restaurant. Keep it simple but special.
2. Make a Clean Break. Clear the calendar for a few days after school ends. Even a free day or two signifies a defined break between the end of school and what's next. Both you and your child deserve to have some time to unwind before launching into summer. When summer activities begin to overlap with school routines kids, in particular, don't have an opportunity re-energize for what's next.
3. Share Success. Ask your child what was most challenging about the past year.
4. Make the Connection. Use your challenges and achievements conversation to begin talking about the coming year.
- Praise her efforts to overcome and succeed amidst these challenges.
- Remind her of the challenging moments you remember. Kids have a tendency to forget some of their greatest challenges and subsequent achievements.
5. Do Your Homework. For the past nine months your child completed weekly homework assignments. Now it's your turn.
- Emphasize the effort and skills your child used to succeed and how he might use these same skills to overcome new challenges. The connection between effort and achievement will become more important in middle school as your child seeks greater independence.
Making the transition to middle school will be one of the most exciting times in your child's life. With your support and an adequate amount of forethought, middle school will be a seamless transition from an amazing summer.
- Start by calling your child's middle school to inquire about orientation dates.
- Schedule these dates on a calendar along with any other activities that coincide with these dates.
- Build your summer reading list with few books and articles about middle school life. The time and effort you spend now will result in greater piece of mind next fall.
About the Author:
Joe Bruzzese, author of A Parent's Guide to the Middle School Years and parent education expert, speaks to parents across the United States offering practical and long terms strategies for overcoming the struggles of the middle school years. Download your free checklist, "Is My Child Thriving or Just Surviving" at www.MiddleSchoolYears.com/list. For information on Joe's work visit www.middleschoolyears.com.
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