Parents Page

Path to Success
To help your middle schooler start--and finish--strong this year:

MAINTAIN ROUTINES. You relied on them when your middle schooler was a toddler, so don't abandon them now that he's nearly a teen. Routines give structure to his day and help him stay organized. So develop some commonsense school-year rituals and stick with them. Make sure you establish a morning, after-school and evening routine for your child. GET INVOLVED AT SCHOOL . It's not always easy to stay connected to the middle-school classroom, but do it anyway. Getting involved shows your middle schooler that his education matters. You don't need to be "Volunteer of the Year" or attend every PTA/PTO meeting. Just make an effort to participate when you can. STAY INFORMED. It's easy to miss the fliers or handouts stuffed in your middle schooler's backpack. So ask him every day whether he's brought anything home that you should see. The same goes for his schoolwork. Just skimming his notes can fill you in on what's happening in class. SUPPORT YOUR CHILD. Your middle schooler may act like he's "too cool" to need your love and guidance, but he's not. Never miss a chance to give him a hug or tell him you love him.

Reprinted with permission from the September 2009 issue of Parents Still make the difference!® (Middle School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2009 The Parent Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc.


Shouting Match

Your child is now at a stage where you need to discipline more carefully. Discipline is essential. But your child is more likely to push back at discipline methods the student finds too harsh and controlling. The point of discipline can quickly become lost as the student uses the opportunity to pick a fight. You may not be able to avoid this all the time. But you can keep the upper hand while still treating your child with respect if you lower your voice. Always remain calm and in control when speaking to your child. Use fewer words. Kids usually tune out at the first sign of a parental lecture. So instead of launching into another rant about your child's messy room, point to the clothes on the floor, and firmly say, "Katie, pick up your clothes. Now, please." State the obvious. "The dog keeps standing by her empty bowl. She looks pretty hungry." Not: "You forgot to feed her again. Can't you remember anything?"

Reprinted with permission from the February 2010 issue of Parents Still make the difference!® (Middle School Edition) newsletter.


Homework Routines

Research shows that studying at home can help your middle schooler perform better at school. Does your child have good homework habits? Now is a great time to reevaluate your child's homework routine. To reinforce homework habits: Choose a central location. Whether it's a desk in his room or a spot at the kitchen table, pick a work zone for your child. Keep it quiet, well lit and stocked with supplies. If he works in the family room, enforce a "no TV or radio during study time" rule for others in your home. Stick around. Don't hover as your preteen works. But do be available to offer praise or encouragement. It'll show that his schoolwork matters to you. Set a limit. Allow a certain amount of time for studying each night--about 45-75 minutes for middle schoolers. No homework? He can use the time to study or read. Designate a start time. If possible, have your child begin working at the same time every evening. Just be flexible when necessary. Be a good role model. Use your preteen's study time to complete your own quiet activities. Read a magazine, answer email or balance the checkbook while he gets his work done.

Reprinted with permission from the March 2010 issue of Parents Still make the difference!® (Middle School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2010 The Parent Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc. Source: Ray Burke, Ph.D., Ron Herron and Bridget A. Barnes, Common Sense Parenting: Using Your Head as Well as Your Heart to Raise School-Aged Children, ISBN: 1-889322-70-9 (Boys Town Press,


Summer Work
Oneida County Summer Youth Program is for students who are 14 years of age, passing all classes and are income eligible. Applications will be available in late May in the Guidance Office.

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