Middle School Survival Guide, Challenge No. 3: Addressing Social Concerns

This is the third article in a three-part series on helping young students transition from elementary school into middle school (intermediate schools in the case of the Washington County School District). The following tips have been provided by the Sylvan Learning Center in St. George. 

ST. GEORGE – While it may be summer now, school will begin soon enough. For St. George-area students who said goodbye to elementary school earlier this year, this fall represents the start of a critical transition to middle school.

Middle school means new beginnings, experiences and challenges. And while these changes —new friends, new teachers and new school environment — can be exciting, they also can be a bit unnerving for new middle-schoolers.

Here are some of the most daunting changes local students will encounter during this year of transition — and some tips from Sylvan Learning on how to work through them successfully.

Challenge: Addressing Social Concerns

New friends:  One crucial area of worry for middle-schoolers is the social scene. You can help ease their trepidation by opening lines of communication and providing a sympathetic ear. Kids’ worries and concerns about fitting in and making friends may seem trivial to adults, but for kids, these worries often trump worries about academics. Listen to their concerns and advise them on basic social skills. Encourage your child to join group conversations. Discuss how to join in without interrupting, to add something relevant to conversation in progress, etc.

Socializing Online
: Online use of social media will ramp up during middle school. In fact, the average teenager sends over 3,000 text messages a month. Make sure your kids understand that what they say and do online may come back to hurt them — or hurt others. Be aware of and set guidelines for use of social media on both computers and hand-held devices. Make sure you are able to regularly monitor your child’s access to text messaging and social media sites like Facebook. Increased awareness allows parents to step in and talk to their children before issues spiral out of control.

By starting now, you can help your rising elementary student prepare for these key challenges before they transition into middle school. Helping them know what to expect in terms of the social, academic and physical dynamics of middle school — and how to deal with this new environment — will do a lot to ease the anxiety every kid feels approaching this year of transition.

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