Fitting In
After School
Working With Your School
Parent Quiz


Fitting In

Help your child improve social skills

Fitting in is a great concern for middle schoolers. To help your child fit in with his peers:

  • Give cues. Some children know it’s nice to look at someone while they speak to you. Others have to be told.
  • Encourage him to think of others. He should ask himself, “Does my friend enjoy this?” “Is he interested in what I’m saying?”
  • Involve teachers. Ask them to use the techniques you find work with your child.

Reprinted with permission from the December 2005 issue of Parents Still make the difference!® (Middle School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2005 The Parent Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc. Source: Richard Lavoie, “Do’s & Don’ts” for Fostering Social Competence,” LD OnLine, www.ldonline.org/ld_indepth/social_skills/lavoie_dos.htm




After School

When is your child ready to be left home alone?

Your child is probably legally old enough to stay home alone after school. But is he ready? Here are some guidelines for deciding if he is, and how to handle his time alone at home.
Your child may be ready to stay alone after school if he:

  • Feels comfortable. Some children love the independence. If your child is anxious, have him stay with a friend, relative or attend an after-school program.
  • Shows responsibility. A child who follows directions, adheres to safety rules and has shown himself trustworthy may be ready to stay alone.
  • Can reach you or another trusted adult at all times. Alone should never mean out of touch.
    If you and your child feel he is ready to stay alone:
  • Set specific rules. Be exact about whether he is allowed to have even one friend in the house when you are not there.
  • Have a schedule. Few middle schoolers will wisely fill three or four hours of time each weekday. Write down what you expect.
  • Set times to be in touch. Check in each day, even if everything is fine.

Reprinted with permission from the December 2005 issue of Parents Still make the difference!® (Middle School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2005 The Parent Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc. Source: Julieta Santana, “Is Your Kid Latch-Key Material?” Connect for Kids, www.connectforkids.org/node/506.




Working With Your School

Games, reading keep your child’s brain active over break

Your child is probably looking forward to his upcoming winter break from school. This is a time for fun, not for formal schoolwork. But your child can still keep his mind sharp and continue learning, even on break.

Your child’s teachers can suggest ways he can do this. Teachers may even ask your child to do something specific, like read a certain book or keep a journal while on break. You can also encourage your child to:

  • Catch up on pleasure reading. Last semester’s schoolwork may have prevented him from digging into his favorite novel.
  • Write a letter. If your child receives gifts over break, he should write thank-you letters. If not, send newsy notes to friends or relatives.
  • Play board games with family or friends. These require higher-level thinking skills.

Reprinted with permission from the December 2005 issue of Parents Still make the difference!® (Middle School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2005 The Parent Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc. Source: Allison L. Bruce, “Brain Balance: Make the best of the days with no school by mixing relaxation, play and mind-engaging activities,” Charleston.Net, www.photo.citadel.edu/pao/newsclips/archive20042005/4570.html.




Parent Quiz

Are you helping your child assume responsibility?

Take this quiz to see if you are helping your child become more responsible. Answer yes for something you do often. Answer no for something you do only once in a while or never.
____1. I encourage my child to think about what has to be done, and then to do it.
____2. I let my child know that being reliable is important.
____3. I encourage my child to think before acting.
____4. I give my child freedoms for displaying responsibility.
____5. I teach my child to be accountable for her actions.

How did you do?
Mostly yes answers mean you are building responsibility in your child. Mostly no? Try suggestions from the quiz to help your child be more responsible.

Reprinted with permission from the December 2005 issue of Parents Still make the difference!® (Middle School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2005 The Parent Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc.

Page Updated December 15, 2005

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