You may know Michelle from her website “Michelle in the Middle” and her 2004 launch of Athena’s Path, a curriculum that helps girls navigate the tricky middle school social scene, as well as the Hero’s Pursuit version for boys. She recently authored the book of Middle School Makeover: Improving the Way You and Your Child Experience The Middle School Years available on Amazon.

Michelle has all the cred we need on middle school parenting tips during this crisis:

  • often a guest speaker at schools and parenting events
  • hosts Right in the Middle, a conference for girls headed to middle school and their moms
  • runs Moms Meet Up, a parent conversation and support group for parents of middle schoolers
  • provides private coaching for parents and teens
  • has written curriculum for other national programs for adolescents, including Girlology and Girls Rock the House.
  • is the mother of a 13-year-old daughter and an 11-year-old son

Here’s excerpt from her recent email that we wanted to share.

In my online parenting group, I’m hearing a lot about regression.

In this time of uncertainty, kids (even older tweens and teens) pick up on the anxious energy all around them. Often they can’t articulate how they feel or what they need. Many regress to the comforts of childhood for reassurance. You may have noticed your middle schooler becoming more clingy, rewatching favorite childhood cartoons, or playing with stuffed animals or forgotten toys. This is a perfectly normal and acceptable coping skill.

Think about that nostalgia for happier, safer feeling times when you are thinking about how to entertain the kids over the next few weeks. Here are some of my favorite movies, books and games, yes board games, to enjoy with your children.

Favorite family movies to watch with middle schoolers:

**This list has Michelle’s stamp of approval, but you can use Common Sense Media to make sure a movie is a fit for you.**

Reading

Remember that young adolescents STILL love to be read to. Consider gathering in the living room and reading one chapter out loud to them each night. I think you’ll be surprised at how quickly they go from “This is so lame do we have to?” to “Can we read TWO chapters tonight?”

As we practice social distancing and staying home, here are some places you and your children can safely travel:

  • Wonderland
  • The Emerald City
  • Nimh
  • Never Land
  • Treasure Island
  • Villa Villekulla
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
  • The Chocolate Factory
  • The Bridge to Terabithia
  • Cherry Tree Lane
  • Hogwarts
  • Camp Half-Blood
  • The Hundred Acre Wood
  • Narnia
  • Rivendell
  • the Shire
  • Mount Doom
  • Camp Green Lake
  • The Little House on the Prairie
  • Toad Hall
  • The Secret Garden
  • The Alm
  • The Great Grey-Green Limpopo River
  • The Briar Patch

And here are some Games to play together:

Ticket to Ride
Telestrations
Cranium
Say Anything
Wits & Wagers