Tips for Going to Middle School or High School

The middle school and high school years can be filled with all sorts of bumps along the way. But there are ways to help make the move out of elementary school a little easier for your child.

Is your child making the transition from elementary to middle school or junior high? In some areas the change takes place as early as grade six, others as late as grade eight. Either way, it can be a tough transition because so many things change from the cozy, elementary school environment. Educational Psychologist, Joan Martin explains “there is a movement into anonymity. They may not be with the same friends that they were previously because it’s a much larger environment and kids are taking a variety of different classes. So they lose their social cohort to a certain extent. They also lose that sense of intimacy and the challenge and difficulty begins to go up. They begin to be exposed to things like algebra and geometry.”

Joan adds that more than anything during the middle school years kids need help in time management and with strategies on how to deal with the additional workload. Without this help from parent, Joan says kids can feel a little overwhelmed. “When you move into junior high you’re faced with a whole different set of grading criteria, many new and different teachers, and there has to be a lot of strategizing, re-figuring how to go about performing in this environment. How to learn in this environment.”

Another one of the biggest milestones in a child’s life is the transition from middle school to high school. During this time, children also require a lot of support from family, and teachers.

According to Cindy Carson of the child advocacy group First Call, there are four keys to a child’s success in life including a healthy early childhood, economic equality, a safe and caring community, and a positive transition to high school. “One of the keys to success is the support children need to make the transition from childhood, to adolescence, to adulthood,” explains Ms. Carson. “What we find is that children who are at risk are more likely to drop out of school at this time, so we need to give them extra attention and support to get them through this because we know that school drop-out is a huge risk factor for unemployment and problems down the line.”

Cindy adds that helping a child with the transition to high school begins with keeping the doors of communication open. “One of the key things that parents need to do is to keep their ears open and be always talking and have open communication with their young people. Young people need to know that their parents love them, understand them and are behind them. Parents who have open communication with their kids have a much better success at helping their children through the transitions.”

All in all, if your child is moving up and out of elementary school this year, don’t assume that they’re able to handle these changes without help from parents. The middle school and high school years are challenging times that require a little extra support from mom and dad.


Adapted from The Parent Report Radio Show. Any advice or information contained herein should never be a substitute for professional and/or medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. For more information please review Terms of Service.

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