By Robyn Scott
The 6th grade presents a huge change for both students and their parents. Somehow, everything changes from September to June. Although this seems like a relatively long time for the child, a few months is no time at all for mom. Many moms will be left wondering what happened to their sweet little child who did as they were told – most of the time – and are now all of a sudden starting to rebel. The 6th grade rebellion also takes place in the classroom and many parents will be surprised to find that their A & B student is getting a C or D in some classes. This adjustment can be very disheartening and will likely continue through the remainder of middle school and, in some cases, through high school as well. Although transitioning to the 6th grade, and the life changes that come with it, is normal for every child, that doesn’t make it any easier for all the hard-working moms out there. However, there are few things moms can do in order to make the transition a little bit easier for their child, and for themselves.
1.Time goes by differently for a preteen
For adults, Time goes by relatively quickly. It’s hard to remember if something happened in 2013 or 2014 and things can easily blend together. On the other hand, the life of a 6th grader inches by and it seems like middle school goes on forever. Preteens are going through so many changes that for them, 6 months is a huge amount of time. Although, moms will generally feel that their child has changed quickly, and they have, the preteen may feel differently. It’s a good idea to be prepared for these fast transitions and be ready for any challenges that may come up throughout the school year.
2.Parent teacher communication is essential
Because students transition so quickly once they reach middle school, it’s important for parents to stay in continuous communication with their children’s teachers. 6th grade teachers work with 6th grade students each and every year, making it easier for them to anticipate adjustments or provide insight on why are particular student isn’t performing how they did in the past. Teachers can give excellent insight on why a student may have been getting As in September but Cs in December.
3.Introduce positive role models
Preteens and teens need additional positive role models. There are plenty of role models out there, but not all of them are particularly good. There are many ways that parents can search for positive role models outside of the home and classroom. Preteen students can join an organized sports team and look up to their coach, work with a private tutor who has a good sense of humor but can be strict when necessary, or they may look up to an older cousin who has a good head on their shoulders. It’s important for teens to have these role models so that, when it comes time to rebel, they’re looking up to people who won’t lead them astray.
4.Discreetly monitor new friendships
Once in the sixth grade, many students will begin to make new friends. There may be new students at the school or they may find they don’t have as much in common with their elementary school friends as they once thought. Making new friends is an important skill and can lead to potentially wonderful life long friendships. However, because the vast majority of 6th graders begin to rebel, it’s possible for one student to lead another down a negative path. It’s always a good idea to learn if a 6th grader’s new friends take education seriously, have adequate supervision, and are, in general, nice kids.
5.Preteens can become very forgetful
Preteens and teens can become very forgetful, it’s just the way it is. Their hormones and brains are changing constantly and helping them develop into adults. It can be very frustrating for mom to have to ask their child to do their homework 3 times – or even 23 times – but this may be necessary in order for a child of this age to survive the 6th grade academic schedule. Additionally, 6th grade is an excellent time to start with additional organizational skills such as a study aid app, reminders on a cell phone, and a paper calendar at the student’s work desk in their room. Organization is key to surviving one of the biggest transitional years in a pre teen’s life.
Robyn Scott is a private tutor with TutorNerds LLC in Irvine, CA. She has a BA from the University of California, Irvine and a MA from the University of Southampton, UK.