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Back to School Advice for Parents of Middle School Students

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Middle school students are generally self-sufficient, but in the age of coronavirus, everyone can use some extra guidance.

Katie Benningfield, reigning secondary Teacher of the Year in Dallas ISD and teacher at the School for the Talented and Gifted in Pleasant Grove said it’s not just about the students needing extra guidance this school year, but also the parents.

“Parents need to accept that this is all going to be different this year, but the good news is, we have time to prepare now,” Benningfield said.

First things first, she encourages parents to check up on their student’s reading skills.

“Oftentimes when they get back into the school year, they get really fatigued from having to read longer stories. So if they have younger siblings, have them read to them,” Benningfield said. “Or have them read a short story and then give some sort of summary to the parent while they are cooking. It's important to really make it a family event.”

Benningfield also noted middle school-aged children spend a lot of time on apps and screens.

“My middle schoolers really like social media apps where they like to stay online until early in the morning, which works great in the summer when you can sleep in. It’s not so great during the school year or leading up to it. So we can start taking those up at night and getting our kids into a good sleeping habit,” Benningfield said.

Her third tip for parents is one all of us can learn from.

“Really drink water. Our middle schoolers are growing at such a rapid rate that they need to drink more water and less sugary drinks. It could really make a difference in a kid, so they don’t get headaches, they aren’t tired and actually get a good start,” Benningfield said.

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