Middle School Survival Tips Your Tween Should Know

High school students playing basketball in school gym.
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Your tween made it through the elementary years and is on her way to middle school. A lot is going to change, and that's a good thing. Middle school can be challenging for a preteen, but it can also be a time of wonderful change and opportunity. If your child is on the cusp of middle school, be sure he or she is ready. These middle school survival tips will help.

School Survival Tips for Tweens

  • Get Involved: Middle school offers students so much more than elementary school, and the best way to experience the middle school years is to join a club, a sports team or some other school activity. Your child probably has an idea of what he'd like to do, but if he doesn't, give him some background information on what it's like to play in the school band, or join an intramural sports team. By joining in, your child will make new friends and may learn a new skill or develop a new interest that he'll want to continue through high school.
  • Get Organized: Many students experience an increase in homework and other responsibilities during middle school. It's important to help your child stay organized so that he can easily keep up with assignments and other commitments. Consider purchasing an agenda, or keeping track of everything your child has to do on a large white board at home. All information on projects, extra-curricular activities, homework and field trips should be jotted down and tracked. In addition, help your child develop a regular routine so that he knows when to sit down to finish homework, and when to play or watch television.
  • Be Tough: Middle school students have to learn how to stand on their own, stand up to bullies, speak up in class, and say no to their peers. Your child may encounter drugs, alcohol or other dangers during the next few years, be sure you've discussed possible ways for him to say "No" should he be asked if wants to dry smoking, drinking, inhalants or other substances. Also, stay on top of your child's behavior, so that you may notice if anything seems out of sorts. To help your child steer clear of potential problems, be sure he's involved in a variety of after school activities and stay involved in his life. Ask questions, and have a parent support network you can turn to for information and advice.
  • Be Independent: Middle school is an opportunity for growth, and you should encourage your child to be independent and to develop interests of his own. It's perfectly fine if your child decides to embrace a new sport or develop an interest that you don't share. For instance, your child may decide to quit soccer in order to concentrate on band or student government. Show your child that you want him to be his own person, and that sometimes that means being different from you. Independence may also mean finding new friends, or enlarging a circle of friends. Remind your tween that it's alright to want to expand his or her social circle.
  • Back Away from Drama: The biggest drawback to middle school has to be bullying and social drama. It's not always possible to avoid bad behavior, and you should expect that at some point during the middle school years, your child will encounter a variety of social problems. Arm your tween with the knowledge that you're there to help, and that he or she doesn't have to become a victim to the whims of the classroom bully or mean girl. If necessary, contact the school administration for assistance in dealing with social drama.

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