Middle school aged kids are figuring out the world. The are transitioning from an elementary “kid” to an adult. Middle schoolers should have an honest and clear understanding as to what is going on and why. It is important to listen to their concerns and questions. Kids should have the opportunity to express their concerns and feelings. This is a time to understand that not everything has a “right” or “wrong” answer.
All children benefit from a regular schedule. Although that schedule should vary based on the age of the child, every child should be on a “regular schedule”. Start with regular wake up and sleep times. These wake up times and sleep times should remain as close to the traditional school times as possible. As humans, we benefit from regular schedules.
Break the day up into segments.
Allow for breaks. It is important to allow time for breaks, snacks and physical activity. Ideally , this schedule should follow the school day as closely as possible.
Be clear that this is not vacation time. Obligations and learning are crucial and should be a focus during this time.
Create a space for learning if possible. This can be a “converted space” (i.e. part of another room), or dedicated space. Preferably, this space should be quiet and near resources for learning (pens, paper, etc.) This space should be away from TVs, or electronic games. It is important to limit distractions for kids.
Friends are still important for kids. Even though we must follow distance guidelines and can NOT gather, allowing kids to talk to their friends is important. Using tools such as FaceTime, Google Hangouts, or Jitsi.
Middle School kids should have chores to complete as well. These chores should continue to be part of their development. In addition to their regular chores, kids can help participate in meal preparation. Kids can also learn how to do “things” around the house.
Beyond school assignments, have kids work specifically on critical skills. These should include manners, kindness, and life skills. This can be an opportunity to teach kids how to sew, how to cook, iron and other skills.
Remember to schedule some fun and relaxation as well.
Create positive time.
Screen time needs to be split between school work and pleasure. This is an opportunity for kids to learn the difference between work and fun. Kids should have some opportunities to use screens for both purposes.
There are times when the answer is “no”. Kids need limits. These should be clear and understandable, but sometimes the answer is “no”.