Making the move to middle school begins the march toward independence for many children. The shift in a parent’s relationship with their child can change dramatically leaving many parents wondering, “Will my child be ok?”
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So your child is making the transition for middle school this year. Congratulations! It's a big shift. The only other time your child made that transition of this size and the scope, was moving into kindergarten. So imagine now, few years later, leaving into a much larger school campus, new classrooms, new teachers, a whole new set of expectations and a much larger peer group of friends to choose from. So, in order to get yourself ready for that as a parent, you need to know that, number one, your child is going to be able to make that transition smoothly. That's the question, I think, on a lot of parents' minds right now. How will I know, number two, if they're doing okay, especially if your child does not want to communicate with your after? So, a couple of ideas that I wanted to share with you from chapter one of the book, 'Parents' Guide to the Middle School Years'. The number one idea is what I call a Smart Sleuthing. The minutes just after you drop your child off or just before you pick them up, can reveal a lot of information, just giving you a couple of minutes to observe them with a group of peers can tell you a lot about how they're doing socially. Do you see your child kind of off alone, maybe having some trouble, either with a close friend or just trying to fit in, which is something that's really important for kids as they make that transition? Number two, you may find out that they are in, hey, a much larger peer group than you'd have ever anticipated, just seeing them move in and out having those conversations can set your mind at ease. So that's one idea. Try and find some time either before or after the pickup or you can just do a couple minutes of observing. Idea number two, and this is a big one, you need to start building the team. I use team as an acronym, for anyone who has the ability to teach, encourage, advocate for and motivate your child. That opens it up to a pretty large group of potential team players. Of course, the obvious ones are the teachers, then maybe coaches outside of the school environment and then the mentors, the youth group leaders. So, it's potentially large group of people that will have a significant influence on your child's life. You need to get in contact with these folks. The first couple of weeks at school, it's a wonderful opportunity to send an email, send even voicemail, all of the teachers, contact the coaches, get in touch with the mentors, the message is the same. You simply want to say, I appreciate the role that you are going to have in my child's life over the next few years. I recognize your importance there. That simple recognition says a lot. Let's coaches, teachers and mentors know that you're on board, that you're there to support your child. This gives them a whole lot of confidence as you move forward during the school year. It gives you a link to what's happening with your child when you're not around. So, you can't lose on this one. So those are two big ideas to share with you. I hope you've had an incredible day. I will see you back tomorrow. Don't forget, tomorrow, a big interview date, 10 a.m. Pacific, 1 p.m. Eastern. Go to the website www.ThinkingForwardTV.com. Look for the button that says Listen Live. Clicking that button will connect you to a live set of interviews that have some experts focused on the back to school transition. So don't miss that, that's coming up tomorrow. Take care!

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