What Kids Need to Know About School Lockers

Having a locker is a milestone for a middle schooler

Students talking near a school corridor
It's a good idea to have your tween clean out the locker once a week. Don Mason/Blend Images/Getty Images

One of the highlights of starting middle school is getting your locker. If your child hasn't had to use a locker before, here's what he or she needs to know.

Need to Know Information on School Lockers

  • The school will assign a locker to your child at the beginning of the year. Depending on the size of your child's class, he or she may have to share a locker with someone else.
  • If your child is worried about finding his locker, suggest that he or she look for a landmark, such as a clock or a restroom door, to help. Your tween should keep his or her locker number written down on a scrap of paper and in a wallet or pocket until he or she remembers the locker number.
    • If your child has never used a combination lock before, it might be a good idea to purchase a padlock so that your student can practice unlocking the lock.
    • Help your child memorize his or her locker combination as soon as possible. Try to find a clever way for your tween to remember the numbers.
    • School lockers have a habit of getting stuck, especially if the locker is stuffed with books, gym clothes, a coat, a backpack and other school items. If your child can't open his or her locker, it might be necessary to call in the maintenance staff. Your tween should never attempt to force a locker open or closed, because that could bend the locker door and make opening and closing it even more difficult. 
      • If your child has to share a locker with someone else, it would be a good idea to discuss locker decorations upfront before undertaking any major decorating ideas.
      • Make sure your tween keeps a few extra school supplies in the locker, such as notebook paper, pens, pencils, and composition books.
      • Lockers aren't refrigerators or pantries. Food items should not be stored in the locker, except for your child's lunch.
        • If your child's lock sticks, be sure your tween knows to contact the school for assistance. The school janitor may be able to easily fix a stubborn combination lock with a little lubricant.
        • Gym clothes should be brought home as soon as possible, in order to keep the locker smelling fresh and clean. Encourage your tween to bring gym clothes home at the end of every week for laundering.
        • The key to keeping a locker organized is to clear out unwanted papers, tests, and other items at least once a week.
        • A small box can keep emergency items all in one place, so that when your tween needs them, they'll be easily located.
        • Lockers aren't the place to keep valuable items or a lot of cash. Your preteen can keep an extra $5 or $10 in his or her locker, to pay for lunch or emergency school supplies from the school store, but avoid keeping jewelry, expensive sporting items and other valuables in a school locker.

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