In honor of this week being National School Counseling Week, there’s no better time to connect with your child’s counselor and say thanks. School counselors provide invaluable support to students to help them be successful throughout their academic careers, and they’re also a wonderful resource to parents for a variety of topics, including keeping kids alcohol-free.
Underage drinking rates are still at pre-pandemic lows, with nearly six out of ten teens reporting they never consumed alcohol.
Conversations matter and connections matter. We gathered the following three tips to empower you to connect with the school counselor or support staff at your child’s school to foster a home-school connection.
1. School counselors can help you reinforce social-emotional skills at home
Social-emotional learning (SEL) may seem like a buzzworthy trend in education but teaching coping skills, understanding and managing emotions, and empathizing with others has always been a part of the curriculum. Learn more about SEL by reaching out to your child’s school counselor to learn about classroom practices and how you can incorporate SEL at home. Many teachers use gratitude practice in their classrooms. Students start or end each day by writing down three things they’re grateful for and sharing them. This simple practice has a big impact on kids since gratitude has a direct impact on wellbeing. Check in with your child’s school counselor to learn more about gratitude practice and other ways to support SEL outside the school day.
2. School counselors can guide you in starting conversations about important topics
Counselors are skilled at addressing a variety of situations that arise at school. They provide guidance on relationships, decision making, goal setting, substance use prevention, and more. If your child has demonstrated curiosity about a topic you’re struggling with, reach out to their counselor for age-appropriate tips on how to start these conversations. Counselors can also suggest ways that you can use the same messaging and common language that is used by school staff to emphasize these important topics.
3. School counselors can get you or your kids additional support
One of the many roles of school counselors is to facilitate relationships between the school and community, making them knowledgeable about available resources and programs. For example, school counselors recognize mental health warning signs and can provide short-term interventions at school. They can work with you if you identify hardships and struggles that you see at home. Working together, you can give kids support, comfort, and access to resources that will improve, or maintain, their social and emotional wellness. If more help is needed, counselors can share additional resources and community service providers for the benefit of all involved.
We appreciate and celebrate the critical work school counselors around the country do to encourage kids to make healthy decisions that keep them safe this week and throughout the year! And parents, we appreciate you, too!