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Originally published on Quartz

None of us were prepared for simultaneously juggling conference calls, parenting quarantined kids, and troubleshooting crashed servers as hundreds of millions of kids logged on to try and learn. Nor do we know how we support our kids as they grapple with no school, no activities, no in-real-life friendships, and no end in sight.

Phyllis Fagell, a therapist and counselor at an independent school in Washington DC, is an expert on middle schoolers, kids ages 10 to 14. She wrote the 2019 book Middle School Matters because she thinks middle school is a time where we can give kids tools that will set them up for life: good homework habits, skills to self-advocate and self-regulate, and the awareness they need to pick good friends, to take risks wisely, to embrace people’s differences and consider others’ perspectives, and to maintain creativity and confidence in times when either or both tend to plummet.