A note to middle schoolers… you don’t need to know it all now.
Today’s middle schoolers are under pressures that many modern-day parents never experienced back in their day. These young people are faced with challenges that we could never have imagined. From expectations about their futures to the fact that their entire childhood is posted to social media, creating a record for friends and strangers alike, it’s no doubt that this is a different world. Sometimes as parents, we don’t realize the stress this creates for our children.
Middle schoolers have things coming at them from all directions. From worrying about body image to dealing with bullies at school and online, school and extra-curricular activity demands, and trying to figure out what they want to be when they grow up, this can be a challenging time. And sometimes, the only way to help your child through it is to promise that it will all make more sense when they are older.
It can be challenging for middle schoolers to understand that though it might seem that way, no one expects them to have their entire life mapped out yet. With all of the activities that today’s kids get involved in, it can be easy to misinterpret this expectation. But the reality is, knowing what you want early in life is impossible, and it certainly isn’t expected. Many adults still don’t know what they want to do, even decades later.
These 5 Skills Will Help Middle Schoolers Down the Track
The middle school experience can be challenging. So, parents, be sure to share these 5 insights with your child to help them ease their anxiety a bit. The middle school years are critical in many ways in terms of academic development, taking care of their health, etc., but it is also vital for them to have fun. After all, the world can be a stressful place in and of itself, so let’s not make it any harder.
1. Seize the right moments.
Share with your middle schooler that life does move fast. And, as we get older, it feels like time passes by faster and faster. That’s why it is so important to seize the moment. But, teenagers need guidance about what moments they should seize and which moments they should allow to pass them by. Help your child understand that pressures for sex, drugs, alcohol, etc., can be ignored. Other experiences will be far more meaningful at their age. And as parents, it is our job to help them understand and embrace those necessary and positively impactful experiences.
2. Learn healthy coping skills.
With time passing by so quickly, it may sometimes feel like the world is rapidly spinning out of control. The truth is, there will be more moments like this in the future. Talking time to learn healthy coping skills now will help your middle schooler to reap the benefits later. The middle school years present an excellent opportunity to teach your child about self-care. It is important to learn how to create a daily schedule and how to stick to it. As is understanding the importance of exercise and knowing how to maintain a healthy oral care regimen. The sooner your child makes these activities a habit, the more likely those healthy habits will stick when they get older.
3. Teach your child about healthy eating.
As parents, it can be easy to hand your screaming toddler some chicken nuggets or to let them eat a bowl of cereal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner rather than dealing with a temper tantrum. And though we all know people that grew up on hot dogs and turned out just fine, it doesn’t mean that teaching healthy eating habits to children when they are young won’t have long-term benefits.
The sooner your child is introduced to healthy foods and the fewer junk foods available, the more your middle schooler will develop a positive association with healthy food and feeling good. Not only that, but these healthy food choices can help establish a strong metabolism and can help your child develop strong bones and teeth that will sustain them for their lifetime.
4. Introduce your child to a great pediatric dentist.
No, this isn’t about promoting the Must Love Kids team (though we know we’re pretty great). This is about reminding parents of how important it is to instill positive and healthy dental habits at a young age. Middle schoolers are highly impressionable, and they tend to develop habits at that age that will last a lifetime. Suppose your child practices twice a day brushing and daily flossing and has a good relationship with their pediatric dentist. In that case, it is far more likely that they will continue a positive oral care routine when they are older.
5. Focus on what you can control.
Have you ever heard of emotional intelligence or EI? This is all about understanding and managing your own emotions and how those emotions affect other people. The five key elements of EI are self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. Coincidentally, these are all elements that each of us as humans has the power to control.
When your middle schooler is offered the tools and support to develop these tools in a positive environment, their emotional intelligence will grow stronger and faster. The result is a well-adjusted, happy, and successful adult that learns how to navigate the world. And who doesn’t want that for their child?
Contact the Must Love Kids Pediatric Dentistry team for your middle schooler’s next dental appointment.
If your middle schooler in Vancouver, WA, is in need of more information on the benefits of practicing good oral care, be sure to reach out to our office. There’s no need to keep searching online for a dentist near me because the Must Love Kids team is your go-to pediatric dentist in the Vancouver area. And, if your child is ready for their next dental appointment, head to our website to request an appointment.
We look forward to helping you and your middle school child.