This week happens to be National School Psychology Awareness Week. In an effort to promote our profession and provide an understanding of what it is that we do – because it seems to be ever evolving, changing, and growing – each year the national association designates a week in November to present a message to the public about school psychology.
Helping Students and Families Connect the Dots and Thrive in School and Beyond.
School psychologists are trained to support and help students build their strengths, skills and abilities and realize their goals. Specifically, we have the expertise in mental health, learning, and behavior to help children and youth succeed academically, socially, behaviorally, and emotionally. We help students build upon their strengths, skills, interests, and abilities to ‘connect the dots’ and thrive. This includes helping them identify and plan ways to accomplish short and long term goals, building better relationships, and finding ways to keep going even when things get tough.
As many in our community may wrestle with high emotion and confusing thoughts and opinions related to incredibly important matters of faith, family, belief, and hope for the future, being accepting and loving towards everyone, even those that are very different from us, while challenging, may be more important than ever. Kids in school, especially as they get older, become notoriously peer focused! Who is getting the A? Who has the coolest phone? Who does the teacher call on the most? Who got asked to the dance? Etc. Etc. Supporting our kids to be true to themselves, yet accepting of others can be such a difficult task.
All children have the potential for greatness and success. As parents and educators, we can help them realize their vast potential – achieving their goals, thriving in the face of adversity, solving problems, and continually growing as an individual – by helping them to ‘connect the dots’ along the many pathways to success. Every student can and NEEDS to be successful but each pathway, each pathway of ‘dots’ will look different.
How can you help YOUR child connect the dots to thrive in their own way? Here are just a few ideas:
- Encourage your child to set goals and map out a plan for achieving.
- Help your child identify his strengths and interests.
- Support your child to try new skills; emphasize that learning and growing requires ‘stepping into the unknown.’
- Help her work through set-backs or lack of self-confidence by helping to identify negative thoughts that may suggest concerns about his ability to be successful. As a parent, you can help children see what the small steps are and how persisting and overcoming obstacles is part of succeeding. Help her realize that setbacks are not permanent of all-encompassing.
- Model perseverance and problem solving when faced with challenges or difficulties
- Help your child develop positive relationships with peers and adults and model respectful, caring behaviors with others
- Praise attempts as well as success and make sure that you focus on the effort put into the success.
- Help your child internalize a sense that he can achieve by reinforcing the skills already developed and encouraging her to try new challenges.
To foster your child’s unique development, or if you have questions regarding their strengths, skills, and abilities, contact Amy Folger, school psychologist and clinical mental health counselor. Support them to ‘connect the dots & thrive’ in school and beyond.