23 Aug Secrets to Middle School Success
Middle School Success:
If you could go back to middle school, would you? Most adults wouldn’t! Think about it: challenging peer groups, different teachers and classmates at least 8 times a day, figuring out what each teacher expects from you and how to act around various peers of varying degrees of social status? No wonder middle schoolers sleep until noon on the weekends. It’s exhausting!
Despite all of the overwhelming factors, middle school can also be an exciting time. Not only do middle schoolers learn new independent skills, but they are also given more responsibility. Teachers’ expectations are higher, peer situations are evolving, and school work is escalating. We want to ensure that our kids are prepared to head into middle school with confidence and realistic expectations for the upcoming school year. Here are a few tips to help your child make the transition to middle school a positive and successful experience.
Organization and Executive Functioning Skills
- Buy an assignment notebook and write down the assignments before leaving each class (Don’t wait until the end of the day)
- Use colorful binders that coordinate with notebooks (One for each subject)
- Find a place in your home for homework each night (Keep things in the same place)
- Prioritize homework assignments for that night (Don’t skip instructions)
- Time Management (Make sure you have enough time to do your homework before and after school activities, relaxation time, dinner, and bedtime)
- Put papers away after finishing them (where they are supposed to go)
- After completing assignments, put folders and notebooks back in backpack right away (Don’t wait ’til later)
Asking for Help (Self-advocating)
- Talk with your teacher if you don’t understand something (Teachers are more willing to help you with homework when you ask them questions instead of skipping the assignment)
- Use I-statements when asking questions (e.g. I feel confused because I don’t understand the homework instead of- You didn’t explain it).
- If you are worried about asking a teacher in person, write a note or email your question or concern to your teacher
Peer Interactions (How to Make and Keep Friends)
- Keep inviting peers to engage in activities (not excluding others)
- Showing positivity towards others
- Respecting everyone’s personal space and understanding boundaries
- Listening to what that person is saying without being distracted
- Stop and think before acting or saying something
- Show empathy towards peers
- Don’t post information on social media that is disrespectful to peers
- Don’t gossip, start drama, or bully kids
Remember, middle school doesn’t have to be as scary as it may seem. Use these preventive strategies to start your journey on a positive note!
Sarah is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who earned her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology (Counseling Practice) with a credential in Clinical Child and Family Psychology at Roosevelt University. She also has a Bachelor’s of Science in psychology with a minor in child development and family studies from Purdue University. Since 2011, Sarah has worked with children, teens, young adults, and families in a variety of different settings including day care centers, educational settings, healthcare facilities, and community mental health settings. When she is not with clients, Sarah enjoys the city of Chicago, working out, attending sporting events, and spending time with her family and friends.
Sarah’s professional experience spans all ages Her work with children, teens, and their families includes assisting her clients in tackling emotional, behavioral, and developmental challenges to reach their highest potential. She believes in providing a safe and non-judgmental environment where clients work in a collaborative relationship with their therapist to develop specific skills to achieve a positive outcome. She works with children and teens who are struggling with depression, anxiety, self-esteem, impulsivity, defiant behavior, attention issues, school refusal, trauma, low frustration tolerance, and emotional regulation. Sarah often utilizes cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectic behavioral therapy (DBT), and play therapy in her sessions. She is passionate about encouraging children to communicate their emotions while understanding that their family needs to feel heard and be able to leave the session with a solution. Sarah believes that empowering families to continue to work with their children in stressful situations is a key element in helping families achieve positive outcomes in the therapeutic process.
Sarah is also trained in working with young adults and couples and works collaboratively with them to cope and problem-solve with life-cycle transitions, family conflict, communication problems, infidelity, separation, and divorce. Sarah provides an open, non-judgmental, empathetic, and compassionate setting to allow young adults and couples to feel safe to talk about difficult issues. Sarah believes that anyone who has the motivation and willingness to ask for help shows qualities of bravery and courage, and has her respect.