[vc_row 0=””][vc_column][vc_column_text 0=””]Do you remember your first day of middle school?   Moving up, from elementary to middle school, is an important milestone (for both kids and their parents). Middle schools are big, busy, and overwhelming. Now is the perfect time to determine the best way to manage this transition.  A little advanced planning can go a long way.   Understand The Transportation Does your child walk, carpool or take the bus? Regardless, it probably makes sense to practice the route the week before. Make sure that your child understands where to go after drop-off and how dismissal works. Call the school and ask.  I remember the fear that I wouldn’t be able to find the bus to go home. Reassure your child that it’s okay to ask for help. Discuss worst case scenarios. “If you miss the bus, I will come get you.” Sometimes a little reassurance is all it takes.   Determine a Method Of Organization Middle School schedules include movement from class to class. Face it, it’s overwhelming. First, if you have the opportunity to have your child “walk their schedule” prior to school starting, do it.  Familiarity reduces anxiety.  Second, encourage him or her to write down the homework. Trust me, nobody remembers everything all the time. Also, work with your child to determine the best organization system for him or her. For some kids, color coding works. For others, who are less visual (like my daughter), this could be an effort in futility.  Don’t worry, there is a process for everyone.   Take Baby Steps Your child’s entrance into middle school isn’t time to introduce complete independence. It takes time to adapt; there is a lot to manage and understand. If there is a grade or assignment portal, sign up.  Keep an eye on assignments and ensure your child doesn’t fall behind.  That said, middle school is a great time to take a small step back.  Here’s a secret – it’s way better to learn independence and get a bad grade in middle school than in high school.  Middle school history grades are NOT visible to colleges!  Allow them to manage certain process and succeed or fail on their own. This is a great time to learn.   These hints can make the transition easier. However, NOTHING is more important than listening to your child. Kids are wise. They are in-the-know and have definite ideas and beliefs. Let them make some decisions, like choosing what to wear (within reason). If they tell you NOBODY carries a lunchbox, buy brown bags. It’s all good – lunch can be eaten at room temperature! A little bit of “fitting in” is good. It reduces anxiety and fosters belonging.   Sending your child to middle school is exciting, but it can also be stressful and overwhelming. Take a deep breath. Keep your eyes and ears open.  Listen to your child. Stay connected to the school. And, realize in advance that there will be victories and failures – and they will both be fleeting.  You’ve got this!   If the middle school years have passed you by – stay tuned for my next two blogs, transition to high school and to college! Lori Wolk is a seasoned marketing and communications professional and a freelance writer. She authors blogs and articles, creates web content and marketing materials and edits a variety of written work.  As a mom of three children (ages 22, 19 and 17) she enjoys sharing her wisdom and experience with GAMECHANGER’s audience. Need someone to write a blog or article for your local or business publications? Contact Lori at [email protected] today.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]