Middle School Parents Newsletter

  • Your words can affect your middle schooler’s motivation

    Posted by Newsletter on 3/15/2020

    The way your middle schooler hears you talk about him to others can have a lasting effect on him. It can motivate him to do his best—or discourage him from even trying.

    To make sure your conversations have a positive effect on your child:

    • Assume he is listening when you speak, even if he doesn’t appear to be paying attention. Kids instantly perk up their ears when they hear their names. And your child picks up more than your words. He is mature enough to take note of the tone of your voice and the context of the conversation.
    • Avoid discussing your child’s strengths and weaknesses with his brothers or sisters. This can fuel sibling rivalry.
    • Avoid making negative comments about your middle schooler to others—especially to other family members. Think of how you would feel if two people you love talked about how lazy you were, right in front of you.
    • Congratulate him on his great grades and sports victories, but focus on what’s really important to you. Talk about his kindness or his sense of responsibility. And if you really want to motivate him, talk about persistence. Remind him of a time that he didn’t give up, even when the going got tough.

    Reprinted with permission from the March 2020 issue of Parents Still make the difference!® (Middle School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2020 The Parent Institute®, a division of PaperClip Media, Inc. Source: S. Rimm, Why Bright Kids Get Poor Grades and What You Can Do About It: A Six-Step Program for Parents and Teachers, Great Potential Press.

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  • Remember to build some free time into your child’s schedule

    Posted by Newsletter on 3/8/2020

    Some parents try to schedule every minute of their children’s free time in an effort to prepare them for success in later life. But children benefit from enjoying unscheduled time.

    When days are packed with lessons, sports, and other structured activities, children can become overwhelmed and stressed out. As a result, they don’t do as well in school and are more likely to get sick.

    To determine if your child might be overscheduled, ask yourself these questions:

    • Does my child have time to play with friends? Practices that are planned and run by adults don’t count. Kids need time to relax and just “hang out” with other kids.
    • When does my child do homework? Does she work on math while traveling from one activity to the next? Schoolwork takes concentration, and that takes time.
    • Why is my child in these activities? Sometimes, parents are the ones who want their child to take a class or participate in a sport.
    • Does my child get enough sleep? Middle schoolers need between nine and 10 hours of sleep each day. Without that sleep, kids’ brains don’t function as well.

    Remember: School is your child’s most important job. If too many activities are getting in the way, ask your child to choose only one or two activities she truly enjoys. She’ll be happier and healthier—and she’ll do better in school.

    Reprinted with permission from the March 2020 issue of Parents Still make the difference!® (Middle School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2020 The Parent Institute®, a division of PaperClip Media, Inc.

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  • Overcome learning problems by focusing on strengths

    Posted by Newsletter on 3/1/2020

    Student studying Success is contagious. So if your child struggles in science, for example, point out how well she’s doing in another subject. This can motivate her to transfer her strengths to science, too.

    Try these ideas:

    • Ask your child what class she thinks she does the best in. The key is to get her feeling positive about what she can accomplish.
    • Have her list some reasons why that area is a strength for her. This list can be the beginning of a plan for doing well in other classes.
    • Add some positive notes of your own to her list. Examples could be that she is a good listener, she doesn’t give up easily or she always completes homework assignments on time.
    • Brainstorm together and make a plan. For example, “One of the reasons you earned a good grade in math is that you always asked questions after class if there was something you didn’t quite understand. What do you think might happen if you did the same in your science class?”
    • Have update meetings. Pledge that you and your child will meet together once a week for an update. Ask her to give you specific examples of how she used her strengths. Talk about the results and discuss strategies for where she can go from here.

    Reprinted with permission from the March 2020 issue of Parents Still make the difference!® (Middle School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2020 The Parent Institute®, a division of PaperClip Media, Inc.

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