Counselor's Corner

Tidbits of information to bring hope and peace!

Meaningful May!

There is, within all of us, a need to focus on something larger than ourselves; something more meaningful and purposeful than merely living for the daily routines or striving for a mediocre existence. We all need something that fills us with hope, provides us with purpose, or calls us out of our mental myopia and beckons us to see world around us. Thus, it is with great joy that we usher in “Meaningful May”!


I love this new calendar with its challenges and reminders. Often May comes with a sluggishness as we crawl to the end of the school year. Sometimes May is full of exhaustion or disappointments as school draws to a close. But this year, especially this CRAZY year, let’s go out on a high note as we celebrate the meaning and purpose of life and remind ourselves of why we do what we do.


Join me in perusing this month’s calendar (pictured below) and picking out your top three favorite activities. Here are some of mine:


  • What values are important to you? Find ways to use them today.
  • Focus on how your actions make a difference for others.
  • Make a list of what matters most to you and why?


I invite you to follow along with me day-by-day as we hone your reflective skills and participate in Meaningful May.


As always, feel free to reach out if I can be of help!


LeeAnn Galbraith (aka Mrs. G)

School Counselor

Growth Mindset


How To Empower Children When They Struggle

https://biglifejournal.com/blogs/blog/empower-children-struggle


Imagine you’re lifting weights at the gym. At the first sign of struggle or strain, a well-meaning bystander lifts the weight for you. Every time. Are you going to get any stronger? Will you ever discover just how strong you can be? No matter how pure our intentions, the same concept applies when we refuse to let our children struggle.


If we always solve problems for our children, they will never learn to solve problems themselves. We imply that they are not capable of overcoming obstacles or succeeding on their own, which conditions them to give up at the first sign of difficulty.


Those few moments of discomfort teach your child to persevere instead of giving up or waiting for others to come to the rescue. They learn that they are capable, which allows them to develop grit, resilience, and growth mindset.


Strategies to Empower Your Children When They Struggle


1. Listen and Empathize

Sometimes children are not expecting us to help and all they need is a listening ear. Practice listening when your child vents to you about a problem. If needed, take deep breaths as you fight the urge to jump in with solutions.


2. Model the Attitude You Want to See

When you encounter challenges yourself, model the same language and attitude you’d like to see from your child.

  • Use phrases like, “This is hard. I need a break,” or, “This is hard. I’m going to keep trying.” You may also say, “This is hard. Will you help me?”
  • Avoid expressing negative opinions of yourself or making comments like, “I can’t do this.” Take deep breaths and tell yourself, “I can handle this, if you’re losing your composure.

3. Build Up Confidence with Age-Appropriate Tasks

As early as possible, boost your child’s feelings of confidence and capability by allowing him to do age-appropriate tasks on his own. This may include getting dressed, picking up toys, preparing foods like cereal or toast, making the bed, or other chores, depending on your child’s age.


4. Remind Them of Past Struggles and Accomplishments

Remember: The more children struggle their way to progress or success, the more willing they will be to stick with challenges in the future. It’s helpful to remind them of previous obstacles they’ve overcome and problems they’ve solved. Remind your child of tasks that were once difficult and became easier with time.


5. Teach Problem-Solving Skills

In addition to brainstorming and asking your child open-ended questions, you can directly teach problem-solving skills. Teach a simple process like the following:


  • Step 1: What am I feeling? Help your child label how he feels about the situation.
  • Step 2: What’s the problem? Ask your child to describe the problem.
  • Step 3: What are the solutions? Brainstorm potential solutions. They don’t have to be “good” ideas; you will narrow it down later.
  • Step 4: What would happen if…? Discuss what might happen if your child tried each solution.
  • Step 5: What will I try? Have your child choose one solution to try. If it doesn’t work, discuss WHY and choose another. Encourage your child to keep trying until the problem is solved.


6. Know When to Lend a Hand

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should never help your child. Step in when:

  • There is a safety concern.
  • Your child is frustrated with a task that is not developmentally appropriate.
  • A skill(s) needs to be learned before your child can succeed at the task.
  • Your child has tried multiple strategies and persevered, but is still struggling. In this case, offer guidance and help. Then, discuss what your child learned and praise the effort/progress.

6. Know When to Lend a Hand

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should never help your child. Step in when:

  • There is a safety concern.
  • Your child is frustrated with a task that is not developmentally appropriate.
  • Your child has tried multiple strategies and persevered, but is still struggling. In this case, offer guidance and help.

Success and achievement aren’t necessarily about talent. It’s all about the willingness to struggle and keep going. Unfortunately, there’s only one way to teach this valuable lesson to our children: Let them struggle. It isn’t easy, but with the six strategies we’ve shared here, you can equip your child with many useful skills and tools along the way.


Make the shift from “I’ve got this!” to “You’ve got this!” and your resilient, problem-solving, and gritty child will thank you.


Alexandra


Chief Creator at Big Life Journal

Social Skills Lesson

Answering Questions


Do your conversations with your students ever sound like this?


“How was your day?”
“Fine.”

“What did you learn today?”
“Nothing.”


These conversations happen often with our kids. Unfortunately, one-word answers don’t help us reconnect with our kids after a long day apart. These short answers neither give us a glimpse into our child's world, nor helps them to practice their communication skills.


So, how do we get our kids to open up and share about their day? How do we help them to verbalize their daily joys and struggles? How do we develop that deep connection with our kids, so that when they are older, they will continue to share and allow us to know their world?


The key is in asking the correct questions; questions which draw the student out, encourage great communication skills, and can be used to create great discussions. Pictured below is a list of questions by Big Life Journal to get you started. Clicking on the image will link you to the PDF.


Using this list, or asking similar questions, will help you to get to know your kids' hearts, and help them practice good communication skills to boot! Win-win!

Love and Logic®

Teachers are now included by the CDC as Frontline Essential Workers. This is not a surprise for us as parents because we have always considered teachers as essential and extremely important for the educational development of our children. This year we want to express a very special thanks to teachers for their dedication to teaching our kids while facing the challenges of the pandemic.

On a personal note, I would like to apologize to the many teachers of my youth who put their heart and soul into trying to maintain order with me sitting in their classrooms. I wasn’t a downright malevolent child. I simply liked to keep things entertaining by continuously testing the sense of humor of my instructors. Despite my best efforts to the contrary, my teachers managed to see the good in me even when I couldn’t see it in myself. Great teachers are like that.

One way we can send a big thanks to educators is by helping our kids view them with great respect. A powerful strategy for achieving this goal involves allowing our kids to overhear us talking positively about their teachers. You’ve probably noticed your children’s eyes glazing over as you’ve tried to lecture them about some essential truth. In contrast, you’ve seen how closely they listen when they see that you’re trying to have a private conversation! Experiment with this:

At least twice a week intentionally let your children
overhear you saying something positive about their teachers.
Do this for the rest of the school year.


The Best Gift for Teachers
All dedicated educators want to be appreciated for their hard work, and long hours. It’s great to be appreciated for the fact that we take classrooms full of kids with different needs, abilities, behaviors, and troubles and turn them into high-powered learning teams. However, this past year they have also been faced with the challenge of teaching during the pandemic, and we are especially grateful and thankful for their dedication during this time.

The best gift we can give them involves our own parenting. The most wonderful display of our appreciation is to send them students truly ready to be respectful, responsible, and eager to learn. No doubt this gift also benefits our children, who will rise to the top when equipped with such character attributes. In addition to letting our kids hearing our positive comments about their teachers, here is list of a few additional things you can do to help teachers help your kids succeed:



  • Ensure that they are doing chores without reminders at home, so that they know how to do assignments without reminders at school.



  • Allow very little time with technology, including video games, texting, surfing the web, watching videos, television, etc. These activities make it more difficult for our children to remain calm and content at school.



  • Have family meals together, where you enjoy each other and talk about all the things you’ve learned during the day.



Want Your Child’s Teacher to Listen to You?

Years ago, we learned of two parents who called a teacher about something that happened in the teacher’s classroom. Here are the two ways that these parents started the conversation:

One of the mothers started by saying, “You need to handle the class in a better way!”

The other mother started by saying, “I’d like to share what I have heard about a problem in the class and get your thoughts on it.”

The opening statement of the first mother immediately put the teacher on the defensive and the conversation did not go well. The second mother did not create a hostile atmosphere and the conversation went well because the teacher did not feel like she was being attacked. Showing respect and courtesy to our teachers when we need to speak with them is another excellent way of showing how much we appreciate them and that we are truly thankful for what they do for our kids.

Thanks for reading! If this is a benefit, forward it to a friend. Our goal is to help as many families as possible.


Dr. Charles Fay

Love and Logic® is a research-driven, whole-child philosophy founded in 1977 by Jim Fay and Foster W. Cline, M.D. It provides practical tools and techniques that help adults achieve respectful, healthy relationships with their children. Visit their website at loveandlogic.com

Self-Care

Make it Meaningful


How can we find a greater sense of purpose and meaning? Being part of something bigger than ourselves - and focusing on the things we value - is vital for our wellbeing. So let's take time to reflect on what we care about this month and prioritize the things that matter.

Contact Information

For questions or comments, feel free to connect with me! Want to set up a virtual meeting? Contact me!


Call or text: ‪(530) 278-8335‬


Pioneer School District: lgalbraith@pioneerusd.org


Latrobe School District: lgalbraith@latrobeschool.com