The transition between the small, safe world of grade school and the big, scary one of middle school can freak out families. Here are some tips to help girls transition to middle school.
Remember that academically at least, girls usually do better than boys. Why? Because one of the biggest changes in junior high is gaining organizational skills—moving from class to class, keeping track of homework, etc.–and girls tend to be stronger in this area.
Encourage her to use a daily planner. Make her responsible for writing down and remembering her own assignments, lessons, and social dates.
Give her chores at home to increase her sense of responsibility. Pet care is especially good, because there are natural consequences if the cat isn’t fed.
Allow her to fail. If she arrives at a birthday party without a present, chances are she’ll remember the next time. If she double books babysitting dates, don’t cover for her. Let her face the music.
Remember that middle school staff can’t communicate with you as often as grade school teachers did. Each teacher just has too many students to do that. But you can still seek them out if you have something to talk about.
Expect her to start shutting you out. Even if she’s always told you everything, be prepared for that to change. Keep the lines of communication open, but know that it’s normal for her to talk more with peers right now.
Help her stay involved in activities outside of school, such as soccer or Girl Scouts. Outside interests help girls feel less pressure about their appearance, and help keep them out of trouble.
Expect that her friendships might shift and be ready to help her with that. With multiple schools coming together, and the hierarchical nature of this time in kids’ development, friendship fluctuations are inevitable.