Nurture Your Middle Schooler's Thinking Skills in Four Easy Steps.

Sharpen your middle schooler’s thinking skills and you’ll boost her brainpower!  Here’s what to do:

  1. Slow down.  Try not to rush through every conversation with your middle schooler.  Instead, take the time to really discuss various topics, from the upcoming science fair to the weather.  The more you explore things in depth, the more opportunities you’ll be giving her to think.
  2. Don’t swoop in.  When your middle schooler is struggling with a question, don’t be so quick to answer it for her.  Instead, give her a chance to mull it over on her own.  For example, if she says, “Which sport should I try out for?” get her to think it over carefully.  “Well, which one do you most enjoy? Is one more challenging than another?”
  3. Ask her to explain herself.  When your middle schooler reaches a decision about something, have her put her thought process into words. “I’m surprised that you picked basketball.  Tell me why you chose that one.”)  By explaining how she made the decision she did, she’ll be clarifying it in her own head.
  4. Withhold judgment.  You may not agree with your middle schooler’s way of thinking on every topic, but you should still respect it.

Source:  Anthony J. LeSorti, “Developing Thinking in the Gifted,”  The Pennsylvania Association for Gifted Education,  Reprinted with permission from Copyright © 2009 The Parent Institute

Today's Good Study Habits Lead to Tomorrow's Success.

The study skills your middle schooler learns now can help him succeed today, in high school and beyond.  You can lay the  groundwork for your child’s academic success if you:

  • Remind him to break down large projects.  Don’t let your middle schooler get rattled by huge assignments.  Instead, show him how to bread big projects into smaller, more manageable parts.
  • Boost his self-awareness.  Ask your middle schooler to figure out when he’s at his best.  Then encourage him to do most of his studying during those times.  If your teen needs to let off some steam after school, he may want to take a jog or a brisk walk before sitting down to study.
  • Encourage solid study habits.  Have your middle schooler study in the same spot every day.  Be sure it’s quiet, well lit and stocked with all of the supplies he needs.
  • Help him stay organized.  Create a system for keeping track of important assignments. It might be file folders, a color-coded binder or a kitchen calendar.  Which ever he chooses, help him figure out the best way to organize his papers.
  • Teach him to estimate his work time.  Have your middle schooler estimate how long his homework or projects will take.  He can then plan his study time accordingly.

Source:  “Study Skills for Middle School and Beyond,”  Reprinted with permission from

Copyright © 2009 The Parent Institute