Middle school can be a challenging time. It’s important that middle school children learn to cultivate a sense of independence. It's during the middle school years that students begin to identify with different interests. Some of my middle school clients are often confused at what they should be doing during these years to get their child prepared and ready for high school. Remember, it’s the time dedicated to coursework and learning that dictates how well a student will perform and what courses a student will be eligible to begin taking in grade 9. Grade 9 is when it counts for colleges. Don’t take the middle school years lightly. There are fundamental and strategic ways to help foster a love of learning and development during these times.
Limit Screen Time
There is absolutely no need for a middle school student to have 24/7 access to a cell phone. Create designated “screen time”. Don’t allow a negative habit to begin so young.
Making Learning Exciting
Show your passion for learning. Plan family field trips to historical locations. Join your local library. Bring your kids to art museums. Sign up for family classes. Cook together. Garden together. Visit a nursing home. Give back to the community. Your love of learning will rub off on your child. If you find your child is struggling in a subject, then get them enrolled in academic tutoring. There are many Nashville, Brentwood, and Franklin-based academic tutors available today.
Limit Social Media
More and more studies are coming out each day showing the adverse effects that social media is having on our youth. Personally, I’m not a proponent of social media for middle schoolers. There are far better ways for a student to spend their time. Surround your child with books. Get them involved in a learning or adventure camp. Nashville has fantastic resources for students to take advantage of each summer. Try to help your child identify his/her likes and dislikes, as this will help pave the way to when they start thinking about college applications.
Create Nurturing Surroundings
I’m a firm believer that your surroundings have a profound impact on your development. Creating a safe and quiet learning area, surrounding children with books, putting educational programming on TV, and creating a loving and nurturing home environment are fundamental ways to help your child succeed. Keep the lines of communication open always.
The time will come when your child will be applying to college. Using the years before high school to cultivate a sense of self-worth and wonder is essential. As a college admissions counselor serving Brentwood, Franklin, and Nashville, TN, I work with many families with children between the ages of 6-8. The families who adequately plan and are mindful of how they are best using their time to help their child grow are the ones who see the most success later down the road.