Middle School Parents Newsletter

  • Regular family dinners can improve outcomes for children

    Posted by Newsletter on 1/12/2020

    What does your middle schooler really want for dinner? You. Families live hectic lives and you may wonder whether gathering for a family meal is worth all the hassle. Well, it is. In fact, family meals make a real difference.

    Studies have found that kids who eat dinner with their families four or more nights a week are less likely to try cigarettes, alcohol, and marijuana. They also perform better in school.

    Here’s how to make family meals work for you:

    • Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t eat together every night. Try to have dinner together a few times each week.
    • Include your child in mealtime conversations. Ask a few specific questions. Instead of the standard “How was your day?” be clear-cut. Ask, “What’s one interesting thing that happened at school?” It may get him to open up more.
    • Keep it pleasant. Don’t use mealtime as an opportunity to argue or interrogate your child.
    • Laugh. Humor makes dinnertime fun for everyone.
    • Be flexible. If evening meals are hard to schedule, share breakfast with your child. You’ll have the same chance to connect.
    • Go low-tech. Don’t try to compete with digital devices for your child’s attention. You’ll lose. Turn off the TV and keep phones and tablets away from the table.

    Reprinted with permission from the January 2020 issue of Parents Still make the difference!® (Middle School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2020 The Parent Institute®, a division of PaperClip Media, Inc. Source: “Benefits of Family Dinners,” The Family Dinner Project, niswc.com/mid_dinner2.

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  • Find the value in different types of reading material

    Posted by Newsletter on 12/29/2019

    Is your child a reader? Some kids don’t read many novels, but that doesn’t mean they are not readers. Avoid labeling your middle schooler a nonreader—if you say it, your child is likely to believe it.

    Nearly every kind of reading has value that you may not have considered. Recognize it. Encourage it. Praise your child for reading.

    If your child reads:

    • Magazines, she has learned the value of reading for pleasure and interest. As long as the material is age-appropriate, this is a constructive activity for your child.
    • Sports scores, she has learned to read for information. And she has learned that the internet and newspapers are valuable resources. Ask her questions that require her to do a bit of research.
    • Nonfiction books, she is building fluency, comprehension and vocabulary skills. Consider giving her a biography of a person she admires.
    • Instruction manuals or how-to books, she has learned that reading can teach her a practical skill. Help her look for books about the skills she wants to learn.
    • Text messages, she has learned to use reading and writing to communicate. But if texts are the only things she reads—it’s time to set limits and introduce some variety!

    Reprinted with permission from the January 2020 issue of Parents Still make the difference!® (Middle School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2020 The Parent Institute®, a division of PaperClip Media, Inc. Source: D. Booth, Reading Doesn’t Matter Anymore ... Shattering the Myths of Literacy, Stenhouse Publishers.

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  • Do you monitor your child’s time after school?

    Posted by Newsletter on 12/22/2019

    Research shows that the hours immediately after school are when children are most likely to get into trouble. It’s important to make home-alone time as safe and structured as possible. Answer yes or no to the questions below to find out how well you are doing:

    1. Do you make sure your child has an adult contact after school, such as a relative, neighbor or sitter?
    2. Do you keep in touch by phone when your child is out of school and you are not with him?
    3. Do you encourage your child to be involved in supervised extracurricular activities after school?
    4. Do you have rules about who may be in the house when you are not there?
    5. Have you discussed with your child the dangers that kids can get into after school (such as alcohol and drugs) and how to avoid them?

    How well are you doing?

    Mostly yes answers mean you are working hard to keep your child safe and productive after school. For no answers, try those suggestions.

    Reprinted with permission from the December 2019 issue of Parents Still make the difference!® (Middle School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2019 The Parent Institute®, a division of PaperClip Media, Inc.

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