Where did the time go? Your baby is growing up and is embarking on a new life adventure: junior high school. Gone are the little kid days of grades K–6, as your child is thrust headlong into the teenager-geared world of education.
But don't fret. Even though your son or daughter is making this transition and big changes are on the way, you can still help them navigate their way through with these suggestions.
In elementary school, there were but a few sports teams or clubs your child could join, and the time commitment was generally quite minimal. Jump ahead to grade seven, and all this changes. There will be many more teams, clubs and opportunities to get involved with at school, and these will demand much more of your child's time. It's easy to get caught up in all the new, fun activities, so if your kid likes to be involved in several things, work together to plan a reasonable schedule that works for both him or her and your family. As a parent, keep an eye out for signs your child might be trying to do much, and then make any necessary adjustments.
With the new level of school comes a new level of responsibility. Gone are the days of the homeroom teacher guiding your child through their day. Now it's up to him or her to move from class to class and teacher to teacher, know the details of homework assignments and due dates, keep track of important school dates and practice times, and the list goes on. This can be daunting for a junior high newbie. With so much going on, it can be easy to forget a few things, so help your grade seven student stay on track by having them use their school agenda or an online calendar (which you can take a step further and sync with yours) and check it often. Make sure you both check the school website for important notices and homework information. And keep talking to your child: Ask about their classes, their friends and their teachers so you can be prepared to help them whenever they need you.
Not only is your child responsible for managing his or her own day-to-day activities; he or she is also responsible for following the many rules their new school will have in place. Make it easier on your child by reading the student handbook and discussing it together. Be sure your child is clear on the policies regarding such things as dress code and cell phone and internet use.
As your child enters this new phase, he or she might encounter certain socially related issues they may not have had to deal with previously. Sex, drugs, alcohol, bullying and cyberbullying are all grown-up issues that can plague a junior high. But let's face it: Your child will have to deal with some of these things eventually, and when they do, they will likely have questions and concerns, so make sure your child knows they can talk to you about anything, regardless of the subject matter.
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