Ann Dolin: Going from elementary to middle school can be a big change for a child. More will be expected of them academically and socially they'll be heavily influenced by their circle of friends and their hobbies.
What should you expect and what can you do to prepare? Well, there are three main fears a student has when entering middle school. First is the fear of getting lost. Try to give your child as much exposure to her new environment as possible. Use this time to go over your student's schedule together. Practice the walk from her locker to her classes three times. She'll be much more comfortable when the Big Day comes.
The second biggest fear for a child is forgetting the locker combination. Buy an inexpensive lock over the summer so your child can practice. And when she gets her combination at orientation, be sure to rehearse it three times before you leave for the day.
The last fear for a middle schooler is not knowing someone at lunch. Encourage your child to ask her friends which lunch period they have by calling, texting, or even posting on Facebook. Having just one friend to talk to at lunch relieves a lot of anxiety. And one more thing, expect that your child's workload is going to increase. Make sure you have a consistent homework routine in place.
By setting these habits now, you'll have smooth sailing in high school and beyond.