Moving up

10 Steps for Creating a Smooth Transition to Middle School

By Erica Patino

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Moving up to middle school is a big change for kids. They’ll be in a bigger building and will need to switch classes on their own. They’ll also be meeting lots of new kids. Tweens with learning and attention issues may have a more challenging time with this transition than their peers. Here’s how to help.


Set up a meeting with the school.

Discuss her learning and attention issues with her case manager and review her IEP before she starts in September. If she doesn’t have an IEP, meet with the guidance counselor.


Keep her socializing over the summer.

If friends aren’t around, look into camps, art classes or any regular activities that will keep her in touch with other tweens.


Help your child meet new peers.

Talk to your child about school clubs and extracurricular activities she might want to sign up for when school starts.


Encourage summer reading.

Reading will be a big part of middle school. Make a variety of options readily available, including e-books, magazines, books and news stories.


Get her used to being on time.

This will be expected in middle school. Lend or buy her a wristwatch, or have her use her cell phone to keep track of commitments.


Prepare her for life with a locker.

Practice using a combination lock at home to help her get used to it.


Go to orientation and tour the campus.

Once you get her schedule, pay another visit on your own to map out her classes and practice using her locker.


Review the student handbook

Go over the rules for student conduct with your child and make sure she understands what’s expected of her.


Meet with her teachers.

Meet with your child’s teachers early in the school year to discuss her strengths and needs. Go over her IEP if she has one.


Stay in the loop.

As the school year gets underway, talk to your child about how school is going. Ask her about what’s challenging her and how you can help.

About the Author

Portrait of Erica Patino

Erica Patino is an online writer and editor who specializes in health and wellness content.

Reviewed by

Portrait of Ginny Osewalt

Ginny Osewalt is certified in elementary and special education, with experience in inclusion, resource room and self-contained settings.

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