Advice for Middle School Success

Advice for Middle School Success

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Start Early with these tips for Middle School Success!

Middle school is a time of transition and growing. Your child leaves elementary school, and has three years to be ready for high school! How is this possible? Here are some hard-won lessons learned from getting three kids through these years for middle school success.

Both you and your teen have lots to learn. It is a challenging time, in fact, this might be the most challenging age since they were toddlers! These years can be difficult, but you can help your child start some forward thinking with some of these strategies, and you guys can survive.

Quick update: I am now teaching middle school. I can tell you that these kids are savvy! They already have ideas about what they want and don’t want. Take advantage of this time! It goes so quickly…

*This post may contain affiliate links.  My full disclosure policy is here.

Pin for later!

Middle School: 9 Tips for Success|www.parentinghighschoolers.com

Start the thinking process!

Begin talking about things that your child likes to do or that they are interested in or are good at. Do a Google search for schools with different majors that you think of together. Start conversations with your child when you are with other adults and talk with them about their jobs.

Check out my book. Some, if not all, of these conversations really are better if started before high school! But, have them whenever you can if your teen is older.

What types of things do these adults like, and/or dislike, about their jobs. What are the expectations at their workplaces? Do they have really long hours, or maybe just a four day week? How much did they make starting out? How much school was required?

Adults usually love it when a kid is willing to talk and have an actual conversation with them, so encourage them to ask away. Plus, it’s an added bonus to that adult that your child is asking questions and interested in them.

Middle school success is better when you embrace learning.

Think about future job possibilities.

Help your child to start looking around at different jobs that people have wherever you all are. Even when watching a show, try to notice how many jobs there are on that show. Watch the news for different stories about people’s lives and what they do during the day.

These conversations can be very interesting to say the least, it’s amazing what they know and think that they know. Remember, though, that it’s a conversation, not time to lecture!

My video goes into more detail about this here. And be sure to read on below the video for the rest of the story!

Try new things for middle school success.

Middle school is the perfect time to try some new things.

Try a club if it sounds interesting. Try to stick with it for the year. Sometimes these start out a little boring because no one knows each other yet. Give it a chance. If it is just not a good fit, then try something else.

Run for an office in a club or be in charge of a particular event. This is good practice for more leadership in high school.

Try out for a sport.  This is the time to do some of these things to get a taste to see if it is something that might be a good fit. Most kids at this age make the team. It’s a good time to learn about a sport, especially if your child hasn’t played it before. There are lots of beginners at this age as well as other kids who have played for years. You will see it all in middle school!

Try out an instrument for all of these same reasons.

Again, if your student doesn’t just love something, then they have tried and now they know! The great thing about middle school is that it’s practice for being in high school without the pressure of grades counting and everything being super competitive.

Thankfully, middle school success doesn't depend on playing in band!

Take the aptitude tests seriously.

As the future gets closer, tell your student not to just blow these tests off. These tests are really a tool to help decipher personality traits, likes and dislikes, and many other factors which might help steer your child in a direction they have never even considered. Many give really good ideas if honest and thoughtful answers are provided.

Here is a website that gives great links to some of these tests, and most are free! You can sign up for Loren’s services, but you do not have to!

Right now jobs with good employment rates are engineering, administration, many sciences, and graphic design. Many jobs are not even listed yet–BECAUSE they have not been invented yet! 85% of jobs that will exist in 2030 do not even exist today!

Middle school success does not depend on these scores, however the information that can be gained from these results if your teen takes it seriously might be really helpful!

Have conversations.

If I could go back and do one thing differently, it would to be to have more conversations about all of this. We are trying this a lot more with our youngest son. No decision needs to be made at this point. But, just having these sort of conversations will really help with everyone’s mindset as high school is looming just ahead.

One big mistake is to wait until junior year to start all these conversations and by then your kids are so super busy and there is a lot going on in general. Give yourselves the gift of time. Here’s the link to a post with 5 tips to improve communication with your teen.

Middle school success takes conversations.

This is also a good time to start keeping track of all activities because as your child moves forward, especially by high school, a good record of all this needs to be kept from the beginning of freshman year.

Check out my parent toolkit for this and other ways to help your teen through these busy years!

Apply for scholarships.

One thing that I wish I had known with my oldest son, is that this whole process could be started in middle school. Many scholarships are available starting for students when they are 13! These are good ones to try for, because who knows this? No one that I have spoken with about this process has known.

As a parent, you need to set up a specific email just for scholarships, and so should your child–even if you are the only one checking them. Sign up for scholarship websites, and fill out the profiles. (These can be edited down the road as your child learns more about themselves and their likes and dislikes.)

These websites will start to send lots of emails about different scholarships that are available. They will be organized in many ways. Stay up with them and create a list of ones to try for. Many can and should be deleted. Don’t go crazy with this. Maybe try for one a month, more during the summer or over holidays.

Two AMAZING resources are:

How 2 Win Scholarships
Monica Matthews is a former teacher and a stay-at-home mom of three boys. She’s a mom who worked with her son to earn enough scholarships to attend college for free. Monica has parent, as well as student guides which are extremely useful! I’ve signed up for her newsletters and she’ll let you know when to apply for scholarships. She always has up to date information on her blog. She has a parent guide and student guide as well as a really great online tool for keeping track of scholarship opportunities!

The Scholarship System– Jocelyn Pearson. She has a free webinar you can register for here. She paid for 100% of her college expenses through scholarships. Jocelyn has definitely done her homework and creates a yearly Scholarship Guide. I liked her webinar. Has a lot of information available. 

Practice writing a few essays.

Good topics for essays are:  goals and aspirations, how to help the environment, safe driving habits (such as no texting and driving), and where do you see yourself in 20 years. Just having these few essays in their pocket will be super helpful in the whole process because they can be tweaked and used more than once.

There will be more and more writing in high school, so this is good practice. Also, many colleges require an essay on their application, so these could be used again for that.

Middle school success takes work

Set up a calendar for college related items.

This can be a dedicated calendar for scholarship due dates (pretend that they are actually due earlier than actual date, so they are never late) and also test dates like the ACT and SAT. Eventually, in high school, due dates for applications can also be added. There are many due dates, so a calendar dedicated to just college can be super helpful.

Books to read that will help!

Here are some great books to help you through the middle school years! A few by name are: Middle School Matters, Middle Schooled, Middle School Makeover, and Planet Middle School.

Talk about finances

Are you wondering what you should be teaching your teen about money? Saving? Investing? This knowledge is so important for our kids as they leave for college and/or beyond. I so wish that I had know all of this when I was their age!

I have found this awesome resource. It’s called 5 Things Parents Must Teach Kids About Money. There is also Millionaire by 51. Both of these are from my new friend in the blogging world, John Q. Miller aka. “Daddy401k” He was in our Next Phase Parenting Summit back in January, and had so much great information!

This is a lot!!!

Do not try to do this all at once! Middle school lasts three years, so give yourself grace. Try one thing at a time. Get to know your child as they mature and grow into young adults. The main thing is to keep the lines of communication open with your child so that all of this planning and prep work is done together.

It’s almost too much for any one person.Get on the same page as your spouse, significant other, or ex– or as close as possible because it is your kid’s future that is important right now. There will be times that you don’t work on any of this because you are busy and have a life. When you can, take baby steps into this whole process, the chances of middle school success will increase. It is a really exciting and fun time for all!

Related posts:

College Bound: Get Ready for College with Conversations,

Scholarship Tips and Tricks (You CAN Start in Middle School!)

I would love to stay in touch!

Visit my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again!

Pin for later!

Start early for middle school success!|www.parentinghighschoolers.com

5 Positive Parenting Techniques

5 Positive Parenting Techniques

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Chapter 1

*I’m in the process of reading  U Thrive: How to Succeed in College (and Life)  written by Daniel Lerner and Alan Schlechter, MD. They teach a course at NYU on the “Science of Happiness” which is one of the most sought after courses on campus. Their book is chock full of positive parenting techniques!

It’s a “how to” guide for thriving in college and beyond. I think that it will also help me improve my parenting techniques, a win-win! *This post may contain affiliate links. This means, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase.

Yes, positive psychology is all around us and it’s probably because our culture is thirsty for it. But, let me say, by page 30, I was hooked. This book really should be used in our schools. But, schools don’t really have a class on how to be happy, so it falls on us, the parents to teach them how to make choices that will improve their mindset.

(This was written by my former blog partner, Ann, so don’t get confused when she mentions a daughter!)

Pin for later!

Positive Parenting Techniques in UTHRIVE|www.parentinghighschoolers.com

Parenting is hard -Use positive parenting techniques!

As you know, parenting is the hardest job ever and there is no real “how to” book. So, even though this book is focusing on thriving in college, it is definitely transferable to parenting. While reading, I thought to myself, “I wish I knew this when I was my kids were younger”.

Wait I still can! Even though my kids are 22, 19, and 15, and I’m in my mid-50’s, I can honestly say, this book can really help everyone, no matter what stage of life you’re in. I don’t think it’s ever too late to be better at your relationships.

As I read this book, I’ll let you know my “takeaways”! Here’s are the first 5 positive parenting techniques from Chapter 1.

More books about teens in this post.

Raise Your Mood

Raise your mood before every opportunity or challenge by thinking about something positive for 30 seconds. I told my daughter, Kelly, to try this before taking her tests during finals week.

She looked at me kinda weird and asked me why? I quoted from pg. 18 “Positive emotions prime you to perform your best”. In the book, they continue, “Good feelings are a fantastic learning aid:  they help you retain more information and stay on the ball in group discussions; they improve your test scores and your grades; they boost resilience and help you deal with stress more effectively”.

We need to think about and use positive parenting techniques.

So Kelly tried it, she thought of a funny memory that made her laugh and thought about it before she took a test. Kelly told me, “It was so much easier, I wasn’t focusing on how hard it was going to be. I just breezed through it. And it felt good!”

The end result- she got a B on her math test. It worked.

Focus on the Good!

Tell your kids 3 things they did well and 3 places to grow (or less according to Kelly). In the book, they detail a story of a student who only heard negative feedback from his theatre professor. The student had a hard time believing in anything he was doing well. He had lost his confidence.

Lerner and Schlecter (authors of the book), suggested to the student to ask his teacher to tell him what he was doing right. The professor agreed to do this. The student then started his own peer group to share feedback together on 3 things they were doing well and 3 things they each needed to work on.

Hmm. Could I do this as a parent? Sure, and would have, but I can tell you I didn’t. I was always asking my girls, “Hey did you do this?” I was focused on what they may have missed not what they did well.

Ugh. I had focused on what they could have done better, which unfortunately doesn’t recognize what they were/are doing well.

My takeaway on this is no matter where you are in your parenting journey, focus on 3 good things and according to my daughter only 1 or 2 things where they can grow. Much better parenting technique! Also, better message for our kids!


 

Write Down Why You’re Grateful

Write down daily what you’re grateful for and why they matter. The theory behind the gratitude journal is it “qualifies” your positive emotions which can translate to higher GPA, better social relationships, better sleep and less depression. When you make a habit to scan for the good things during your day, it rewires your brain. Keep a journal or a gratitude jar and slips of paper next to your bed. Write down 3 things that bring joy that day and put them in the jar. This is what I do, and I’m looking forward to seeing to the end of the year when I can reflect on all the things that brought me happiness. Positive Parenting Techniques in UTHRIVE|www.parentinghighschoolers.com Or if you like to write, try this journal-The Five Minute Journal: A Happier You in 5 Minutes a Day. I’ve been using it and love it too. Great reviews!


 

Random Acts of Kindness

Perform Random Acts of Kindness consciously (pg. 29)- A little difference here is that you are thinking about what you can do nice for someone else AHEAD of time. This act gives you a boost of happiness that can last for months. It isn’t so much about being proud of yourself as it is to focus on how it made you feel- ask yourself, “What did I do today that was kind and how did it feel?” Replay the scene in your head.  

What Makes You Happy?

Pay attention to what makes you happy. This is such a great idea! We can all do this, but for those of you with younger teens, ask them what they’re interested in. This is a crucial step in figuring out a potential career. Have them experiment with different classes, extra-curricular activities or even job shadow. For us moms, it’s never too late to pay attention to what lights you up. This is one of the reasons why I wanted to start a blog. I have a B.A. in Communications and never did anything with it. This blog allows me to rekindle my skills and learn how it’s done today. Avoid Losing Your Cool with Your Young Adult So what makes you happy? What makes you feel good or what activities do participate in that you don’t even notice that time has passed? Take the time to really think about this, and try to add something into your day that will make you smile. It will make you happier, AND improve your parenting techniques!   


Have you read my book on parenting teens? Talk about some positive parenting techniques for teens… College Bound: The Ultimate List of Conversations to Help Your Teen Through High School. Here is the blog post that I wrote to go along with the book. It includes a few freebies for you to print out and use:)

Check out the parentinghighschoolers parent toolkit! It is really helpful for those busy high school days.

Pin for later!

Positive Parenting Techniques in UTHRIVE|www.parentinghighschoolers.com

High School Success

With This

College Prep Kit

College prep is complex!

Stay organized with the necessary information required to apply for colleges, scholarships and future employment.

These FREE printables will help with any post-high school scenario.

 

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest