During elementary school, most parents are very involved in their child's schooling. Parents know teachers and administrators, are aware of their child's progress and behavior, help solve problems, and make sure their child spends enough time on homework. Unfortunately, some parents stop being as actively involved when children enter middle school. Yet, this is a period of time parent’s help and support are greatly needed.

Advice for parents of pre-teens:

1. Help your child manage homework time. Use your child’s school planner as an effective tool. The planner allows parents to review assigned homework, ensure proper time management, and is an excellent way for individual teachers and parents to communicate.

2. Show interest in your child’s studies. Parents should talk to their child daily about school. Don’t take “nothing” as an answer—ask specific questions to encourage more detailed answers. Ask if they need any assistance. Talking to your child about school shows you genuinely care about their academics.

3. Periodically contact counselors, administrators, and teachers. Find out what your child should be learning, how she is progressing, and how you can help. Be an active participant in your child's education.

4. Be sure your child attends school on a regular basis. After a valid absence, make sure your student keeps up with his/her studies. Check to ensure your child has cleared their absence and has received and completed any missed work.

5. Encourage the pursuit of extracurricular activities. This is a healthy way to cultivate friendships, improve skills, and build self-esteem. Be cautious such activities leave adequate time for schoolwork—you must help your child achieve an appropriate balance.

6. Know your child’s friends. It is extremely important know your child’s peers. Follow-up on any suspicions you have, and be aware where your child is at all times. It is better to be safe than sorry at this time in their life.

7. Make it clear following school rules and policies is a must. Teach respectful behavior—with people and property. Discuss and be certain your child is clear about what is right, what is wrong, and how to confront negative temptations. Be clear and consistent with discipline, working with the school on your child's conduct.

8. Attend parent meetings, open houses, parent education groups, and other activities for parents. Check the monthly newsletter, the school website, and school personnel for available activities.

9. Volunteer at school. Both your child and the school will benefit from your indolent and help. Schools solicit volunteers to help in a variety of ways: tutoring, assisting in the media center, giving speeches, helping with activities, chaperoning, and much more.

10. Have regular family meetings. Use family meetings to talk over any concerns or problems family members have. Family meetings help with discipline and responsibility. Regular meetings provide the opportunity to discuss matters openly and calmly in an atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding. They are very effective at reducing conflict among siblings, and promoting positive interaction between parent and child.

Article by Jesus Gutierrez