The sun is shining, the birds are singing and your summer tan glimmers bronze while the kids spend another day in the pool. All is right in the world.

You glance down at your phone and see a new notification. “Welcome to Middle School! Back to School is around the corner!” the subject link begins. The school announcement bursts through your summer bubble with details for class schedules, lunch menus and dress codes. 

Never fear! We’re here to make getting back to school as easy as possible so you can soak every last ounce of goodness from your summer. Back-to-school shopping and preparation can set the tone for an awesome start to the school year, and we are all in for it. Enjoy these five tips for going back to school with middle school kids.

1. Enjoy Books and Movies Set in Middle School 

Whether it’s your child’s first year in middle school or they’re returning, back-to-school jitters are normal. One fun way to turn nerves from anxious to excited is to enjoy some family-fun movies or books set in middle school. Enjoy books like “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” “Wonder,” or “Save Me A Seat” for a fast track to middle school without actually stepping on campus. Of course, you can watch the movie adaptations of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” and “Wonder” or add the likes of “Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life.”

2. Express That Style

Middle school will be some of the best years and some of the hardest years. Big kids become teens in this in-between world squished in the middle of elementary and high school. Identities are formed, friends are made and middle school photos will follow them forever. So why not give your kids the “look good, feel good” confidence they need to succeed in middle school? 

Finish Line is our go-to source for style on a budget that parents can afford. Not only can kids express themselves with back-to-school shoes, backpacks or accessories, but you can know that your purchase will contribute to the Special Olympics, opportunities for those with special needs and resources for disadvantaged youth. 

3. Visit the Campus

Now that you’ve watched a few movies and lined their shelves with back-to-school clothes, it’s time to visit the campus. Settle back-to-school jitters with a quick trip to the school. Most schools have a back-to-school night or an open house before class starts, so take advantage of this if yours does. Getting to see, touch and smell the school before it’s official can help your kiddo feel confident come the first day of school.

4. Run Through That Schedule

Knowing where to be and when is a big power play when you’re in middle school. Help your kids navigate their schedule before, during and after that campus visit. Give them a paper copy, snap a photo with their phone and make sure they know how to access any virtual maps or helps that may keep them on track with their schedule. Even a seasoned middle schooler will have a new schedule. Your kid will feel loads more prepared if they’ve walked the route at least once.

5. Level Up the Back-to-School Gear

Not only can your kids express themselves through fashion, but they can also level up their notebooks and lockers, too. Try Zazzle for unique, customizable pencils, notebooks, folders — you name it. If your kid needs it, Zazzle’s got it. Does your kid have a middle school locker? Zazzle has lots of fun ways to spice up and personalize a locker, too. There is no limit to self-expression in middle school. 

The Middle School Years Will Pass

The transition from summer sun to classroom bells can seem jarring at first, but before you know it you’ll be in the 2022-2023 school year groove. Fall with all its comforts will wrap us up in pumpkin spice and snickerdoodles, and your child will be a pro at that once-formidable schedule. While these years will pass quickly, don’t miss the moment to give your kid a good start.