Looking for pandemic advice for your kids? Try middle schoolers.

We reached out to the "experts" to get their thoughts on living through the pandemic.

Margaret McDonnell was leading a conference call for work when her seven-year-old daughter Mickey needed help submitting her digital assignment. But the Takoma Park, Maryland, mom wasn’t any better at navigating the virtual school’s portals and platforms, and they were both becoming frustrated.

Luckily, nine-year-old brother James jumped in and taught his younger sister how to find what she was looking for. “What’s amazing is that it worked well for both of them,” McDonnell says. “It made my older child feel like the leader, and my daughter was grateful to have her brother’s help.”

Younger kids have always looked to their older counterparts for advice, often instead of relying on parents or other trusted adults. “Because children use similar language and communication styles, they have a way of relating to one another that helps them learn better,” says Montessori educator Elenore Pfefferman, who teaches in a mixed-age Washington, D.C., classroom. “The children quickly learn to seek help from classmates, and that benefits everyone.”

More in family

Your patience is wearing thin—but so is your kid’s
Why your kid might need new lessons in resiliency
Why your kid should be playing right now.