We’ve been compiling Best Tips for our youngest who starts 6th grade next week. Her big sister, now in high school, offered her advice as well as Dad, counselors, and other teens. Enjoy this list! It’s great for any of us starting off in a new environment.
10 Best Tips for Rising Middle Schoolers
- Stay organized. In addition to your weekly planner, use lists or other reminders to finish assignments on time. All of sudden, you have to manage multiple classes with multiple teachers. You can do it! Take time each day to make a plan for your homework. Give yourself a break if you feel disorganized at first and forget your gym clothes or instrument one day or if you forget to study for a science test. You’ll get the hang of it!
- Participate. Think about how you might join into the school in a way that’s perfect for you. It could be something small like raising your hand in class to answer questions. Join new clubs and sports. Go to the football games. Contribute in some way to the community of your middle school.
- Find your support network. The middle school years can be so challenging emotionally, physically, and socially. Think about your support network beyond just your parents. Who can support you in your community? Think about youth pastors, counselors, other parents, extended family, older students, and teachers. You need support, and we are all here for you!
- Own your personal grooming routine. Now is the time to take showers every day, stay nice-smelling, brush teeth, and launder your clothes to present yourself for the day.
- Ride the wave of emotions. You won’t always feel this way. My husband says, “It’s just a day. Tomorrow is a new day.” If today was not so good, tomorrow is a fresh start. When days feel dark and serious, find a way to have fun and relax. Eat healthy foods, get enough sleep, exercise each day, and take time to reflect on the day, and your emotions will calm down eventually. You are not your thoughts; your brain is doing crazy things, and when you feel like a stranger to yourself, just know that this is all totally normal for middle school. But if you feel overwhelmed or sad day after day, don’t be afraid to tell adults and doctors how you are feeling so they can help you.
- Consider your strategies. When a problem comes like conflict in a friendship, not finding a seat in the lunchroom, or any kind of disappointment, before you let the stress and overwhelming despair control you, stop, take a deep breath, and think of all the strategies you have to handle this situation. Then, celebrate that you figured out how to solve a problem on your own.
- Accept all people and treat them with dignity. You will meet so many people who have a different religion, political viewpoint, background, or lifestyle. Believe you have something to learn from everyone you meet, and don’t think you are superior to people. Instead of considering how different someone is from you, imagine that this person might become a great friend. Give people a chance.
- Smile, look people in the eye, say their names, and ask great conversation questions. Now is the time to perfect social skills. If you ask people about themselves, you can get a conversation going by then saying, “Tell me more! or What was that like for you?” So if you meet a new friend in Math, you can say, “Bill, what elementary school did you attend?” When they answer, say, “What was that like for you?” And the conversation will take off. Try it!
- Take on the role of encourager. Use your words to bless people, not harm them. If you must, walk away from gossipers and complainers and surround yourself with positive people.
- Remember that you are not alone and we all believe in you! You are great! We are all here for you! Your family and your community are all here supporting you. You are a wonderful person, and the world needs someone just like you. Most of all, I remind my daughters that God is with them when they feel alone and that God has great plans for their lives when they feel insecure and lack self-esteem.
You are going to have a great 6th grade year!!