Are you preparing your child for Middle School this summer? It can be nerve wracking to start at a new school. This post cover Middle School transition tips: lockers, school supplies, lunch, and attending an open house. We are far from experts but have 2 of our kids have successfully survived middle school. We found that these 7 Tips helped ease back-to-school anxiety. A friend’s son wrote Real Advice for Middle Schoolers, that covers a wide variety of “real” topics.
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How to Prepare for Middle School over the Summer
Practice working a locker combination lock. It makes the transition to the locker easier. Students may also need their own lock for gym class, so this is not a bad investment.
Your child will need locker organizational supplies. We purchased a basic shelf like this one (click here). Some students, girl in particular, deck out their lockers with wrapping paper or contact paper, chandeliers, mirrors, or a complete matching set. This can be quite a production to set all of this up. Moms and girls arrive early for Open House to work on these things. I’m not kidding. If this is something your daughter doesn’t want to do, that’s her choice. It’s just good to know ahead of time.
Color Code School Supplies for Middle School Organization
Option A: Year one of middle school we received this super tip… color code your notebooks for each class! We were able to access the supply list on our school’s website. When we purchased new supplies we shopped for specific colors. For example: English – yellow 3-ring binder and a yellow composition book. It took us a little longer to find our supplies, but it was worth it!
Option B: Year two of middle school my son chose to use a something like a trapper keeper. One large binder with dividers for each day. This worked too! It’s really personal preference. I liked Option B because it was a lot less stuff to manage.
My son also chose to put some silver Duct Tape on his pencils, glue, etc. He also made a Duct Tape colored pencil holder – but that’s just him!
Supply Bags are Important to Middle School Students
We chose to put all of the school supplies in one pencil / supply bag that will go to each class. Our school does not allow backpacks in the classrooms, so it means carrying everything to and from class. For English and Math we added small pouches that fit in the 3 ring notebooks with extra pencils.
Visit the Middle School Early
You don’t have to wait for the new student open house. We accidentally stumbled upon this awesome little tid bit. We were dropping off my son’s epi-pens and the nurse encouraged us to walk around and check out the locker. Turns out anyone can come, no need to make an appointment! It only took us about 15 minutes, and it was so worth it!
You can go during the Open House too, but it can be crazy. Everyone arrives at the same time, new students are stressed out, girls are decorating their lockers, some people can’t even open their lockers. You get the idea. The feel in the air was stress. See my additional notes below.
Decode the Schedule
Our Middle School does block schedules, plus A and B days. The first time we went to the school, we just wandered around to find the classes with the complicated school-issued schedule. The next time, we had retyped the schedule, color coded it, and taped it everywhere! It’s in all of the notebooks, hanging in the locker, and a mini one was made for my son’s pocket with the locker combination on the back. I used my mom-form of lamination and covered it in packing tape. This was a gem! My friend even said we could market them! 🙂 Note: the color coding matches the color of notebooks.
Visit the school without siblings. One parent and one student. Take all of your school supplies, schedule, and locker decorations with you. Usually you can set up the locker and fill it with all of the things you’ve been collecting.
Anxious Middle School Kids + Stressed Parents = Sweat Fest!
Don’t worry…Some lockers may just not open. There are usually technicians (teachers and guidance counselors) on hand who can reset them. Don’t worry!
Helping Your Child with Middle School Lunch
I honestly think this could be at the top of the post. It may be the last thing you’re thinking about as you prepare your middle school child; however, it’s the first thing your child is thinking about. Who will they sit with at lunch and how does lunch work? Two ideas:
1. Pack your lunch the first 2 weeks of school. Once things are calmer, your child may be ready to navigate buying lunch. The school nurse told us this trick. We also pack our lunch in brown bags, because our child was always losing his reusable lunch box. These are extra large and held everything he needed. This just saves a step and gives peace of mind to everyone.
2. Who to sit with at lunch? I moved around a lot as a child. New schools are hard. The best advice my parents gave me was to get myself a lunch buddy. Tell your child to look for someone in the period before lunch. They need to reach out and ask someone to eat with them (at least the first day). It sure beats wandering around looking for a friend or eating by yourself.
Water and Snack
Some students may not have lunch until after 1:00! Have your child pack a little snack to keep in their locker or backpack. Teachers will let you know if students can eat in their classroom.
Parent note: I felt that putting the work in ahead of time really helped out a lot! It boosted our confidence and we were ready. Being organized got us started on the right foot. Have a great year!
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