© 2016 Resources for Educators, a division of CCH Incorporated

April 2016

As your child gets older,
does it seem like the rules
you have don’t fit anymore?
Adjusting them can give her
room to gain independence
while still keeping her
safe. Try these ideas.

Pick priorities
As kids get older, they tend to

push boundaries. Some rules will be
nonnegotiable, such as no drinking or
smoking, and showing respect for
others. Beyond those, decide what
really matters to you at this age —
and stick to the rules you set. For exam-
ple, you might expect your tween to keep
her bedroom neat and be okay with her
wearing light makeup. On the other
hand, another family may not consider
a tidy room a priority but feel strongly
about a no-makeup rule.

Get her input
Middle graders want to feel like they

have some control over their lives. Involve
your youngster in rule revisions. Perhaps
she wants to decide when to do her chores
as long as they’re finished by a certain
time. Make it clear you’ll think over her
ideas but that you have the final say. She’ll

Creative projects
Encourage your tween to
think outside the box for

school projects. Approaching them
in interesting ways can motivate him
to work hard and create a finished
product he’s proud of. Perhaps he’ll
include a “Wanted” ad with a paper
on an endangered species or a model
to accompany a report on an archaeo-
logical site.

Spotlight on effort
When your middle grader brings
home a graded test or assignment,
first ask what she learned rather than
what grade she got. You’ll send the
message that it’s not just her grades
that count — it’s also the effort she
puts into her education and what she
gets out of it. Plus, her answer may
lead to an interesting discussion.

Dressed for success
Warmer weather means your child
will start wearing lighter clothing.
Together, go over the dress code in
his student handbook so he knows
what’s allowed. For instance, maybe
he can’t wear “muscle shirts,” flip-
flops, or baseball caps in the building.

Worth quoting
“Somewhere, something incredible is
waiting to be known.” Carl Sagan

Just for fun

Q: What do you call an old

A: Water! 

Updating the rules

be more likely to cooperate if you listen,
even if she doesn’t like your decision.

Let her earn privileges
Try granting more freedom when

your child proves she can handle it. Say
she wants her own smartphone or tablet.
If you’re open to the idea, have her show
that she can follow your Internet rules
on the family computer or your phone.
When you see that she chats only with
people she knows, asks permission
before downloading apps, and sticks to
time limits, you could consider letting
her have her own device.


Dinnertime learning
Put learning on the dinner table with these

fun suggestions:

■ Hang a map in the kitchen. Talk about where
your food is from, and point to the countries or
states. Discuss why you think the food is grown
or produced there (climate, altitude).

Play show-and-tell. Family members can take
turns bringing interesting or unusual objects to the table. Set the item in the cen-
ter, and say what you think it is, where it came from, or what it could be used for.

■ Discuss your day at work. Your child may hear how you managed multiple pri-
orities or handled computer glitches, for example. He’ll learn from your experi-
ences — and learn about your world, too.

Ridgeview Charter School
Ms. Lisa Hastey, Principal

© 2016 Resources for Educators, a division of CCH Incorporated

To provide busy parents with practical ideas
that promote school success, parent involvement,

and more effective parenting.

Resources for Educators,
a division of CCH Incorporated

128 N. Royal Avenue • Front Royal, VA 22630
540-636-4280 • [email protected]

ISSN 1540-5540


Middle Years April 2016 • Page 2

Cite evidence.
Suggest that

your middle
schooler use information from course

materials (textbooks, teacher handouts, rec-
ommended websites) to make sure his writ-

ing is accurate and credible. In a persuasive
paragraph for social studies, for instance, he

can weave in facts to back up his opinion. Or
in an essay about an author, he could cite lines

from her books.

Tip: Good grammar and proofreading are key
to polished writing. Remind your youngster to

double-check punctuation, capitalization, and spelling.

Build a
family team

When I remarried,
my wife and I each brought a son and a
daughter into our new family. The kids
are different ages and go to different
schools, and they didn’t seem to have
anything in common. But in fact they
share something very special — our new
family traditions!

We have cre-
ated our own
rituals for birth-
days, holidays,
and other special
days. For exam-
ple, on New Year’s
Eve, our family
picks one thing we
all want to add to our lives in the coming
year. This year we decided to be more
active, so we took up Rollerblading. And
on each person’s birthday, we set up a
treasure hunt that leads to a gift, and
everyone writes a nice comment about
that family member on a balloon.

We have a lot of fun, and I love that
we’re creating special memories to share
with our new family.

The “write” subject
Strong writing skills are essential in every

class. Here are ways your middle grader can do
well when writing in all classes.

Use specific vocabulary. Every sub-
ject has its own “language,” and your
child should include the proper terms
in his writing. Encourage him to incorpo-
rate the vocabulary, and even the verbs, in
his notes and textbooks. In a science lab
report, for instance, he might say, “I
observed…” instead of “I saw…” Or he
should write “numerator” to refer to the top number of a
fraction when explaining his math answer.

If your youngster could travel back in
time and report on the Boston Tea Party
or the Industrial Revolution, what would
she say or “tweet”? She can dig deeper
into history class topics by pretending
she’s a news reporter. Try these ideas.

Breaking news!
Suggest that your middle grader write

a headline in her notes for each event
she studies. (“Colo-
nists dump tea to pro-
test taxes.”) She could
add headlines for fol-
low-up stories as she
learns more. (“Protes-
tors declare tea-drinking
unpatriotic.”) When she

A rocky friendship
■Q My daughter has a friend who
doesn’t always treat her well. She likes
hanging out with the girl but says she’s

bossy and makes hurtful jokes. How can I help
my child handle this?

■A The next time your daughter complains
about her friend, ask what she gets out of the
friendship. Explain that there’s no such thing as a perfect friend — but in a friendship
worth keeping, the good should outweigh the bad. Suggest that she list pros and
cons to help sort out her feelings.

If she wants to save the friendship, encourage her to talk to the girl. You could
help her think of conversation starters such as, “Lately you’ve been deciding what
we do. Let’s take turns,” or “It hurts my feelings when you joke like that.”

A good friend should be willing to listen and work on the relationship. If things
don’t change, your child will need to decide if she wants this person in her life or if
she’s better off concentrating on other friends.

Reporting—from the past
finishes the unit, let her deliver a news-
cast for you.

Tweets and hashtags
Encourage your child to write tweets

about people, places, and events. She’ll
need to decide what’s most important as
she tries to fit her tweet into 140 charac-
ters. (“Mass production & faster travel
= big changes coming to America!”)

Idea: For more fun, she
might incorporate
clever hashtags into
her tweets, perhaps
“#railroadsrock” and
for the Transconti-
nental Railroad.




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