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School Counseling & Timely Tips

Welcome to the Elementary School
Counselors’ Corner

The Role of the

Elementary School Counselor

*     To help students do and feel their best in school

*     To consult with parents, teachers,

administrators, & staff

*     To work with students individually and in small

groups, as needed

*     To present periodic classroom lessons

*     To consult with community agencies as


*     To follow the national ethical guidelines

*     To make school counseling available for all


*     To teach skills for effective living based on the

national school counselors standards in the areas

of:  social/personal, academic, and career decision-




     Over the past 30 years, Elementary School Counseling has been growing nationwide.  Elementary School Counselors must possess a minimum of a masters degree with graduate coursework in counseling, education, psychology and child development. Elementary School Counselors play a proactive role in helping students learn problem solving skills and good work habits at an early age.  School Counselors focus on facilitating the students’ success in the school setting, so they can reach their full potential.


    “Tidbits---Timely Topics for Parents”


(Click on each topic for more information)


              --Starting School and Routines


              --Developing Responsibility

              --Children Dealing with Divorce & Separation

              --Bullying Prevention



“Kidbits---Timely Tips for Kids


              (Click on each topic for helpful ideas)


              --“Ready. Set. Go!” (Getting ready for school)

              --“I can do it!”  (Believing in yourself)

              --“I’m in charge of myself.” (Being responsible)

              --“What do I do when Mom and Dad divorce?”

              --“Tips for handling Teasers and Bullies…”





Some Community Counseling Agencies &Websites of Interest



Family-Child Resources, York, PA (757-1227)---general counseling for a variety of issues including divorce, grief and loss, discipline, parenting education, etc.



Olivia’s House York, PA (699-1133)---grief counseling programs



Behavioral Health Services by Wellspan Health through York Hospital (851-1500)---counseling and assessment for children and families on a variety of issues


Crisis Intervention through York Hospital (851-5320)--phone or personal counseling in a psychiatric emergency


Susquehanna Counseling through Memorial Hospital, York, PA (849-5743)---variety of counseling services


York Guidance Center, York, PA (845-6641)---variety of counseling/evaluation services


Crossroads Counseling, York, PA (843-8204)---drug/alcohol counseling & evaluation


The Lehman Center, York, PA (852-5771)---support services for families, emergency child-care, counseling and art therapy for children


Victim Assistance Center, York, PA (854-3131)---family violence assistance


FIRST Phone Referral Agency for counseling organizations and support groups (755-1000)


Family Issues Roundtable, York, PA  (771-3806)---information for families and community agencies











TIDBITS:  Timely Topics for Parents…


Responsible Children


Responsible children use their own resources, confidence, and judgment to make decisions, act independently and consider the effect their actions have on others. They are able to fulfill their own needs without interfering with the rights of others.


Parents can encourage responsible behavior in children with discipline and guidance.  By expecting good behavior (and making these expectations known), and using fair and logical consequences for inappropriate behavior, children can learn to solve their own problems and develop a sense of responsibility. 


Some quick guidelines for parents are:

·    Be consistent. Consistency is very important but can be difficult to pull off.  It is imperative for parents to follow through with promised rewards or consequences.  This is how children learn to connect behaviors to consequences.

·    Say what you mean and mean what you say. Spelling out your expectations ahead of time will help especially if your child likes to argue on technicalities.  When you say “no” does it mean “let’s negotiate”?  By meaning what you say, children will spend less time trying to get you to change your mind and more time learning to accept the negative consequences of their actions.

·    Don’t rescue.  Shielding children from the consequences of their behavior and their choices teaches them that they do not need to be accountable for their actions.

·    Don’t give in.  It’s hard to stick to your guns in the face of a screaming child or when your child is crying or whining.  It’s tough, but by giving in, this negative behavior is reinforced.  While it may make things easier temporarily, giving in to negative behaviors will make things more difficult for you and for your child in the long run.

·    Look for the positives.  Be excited when you praise, be calm when you correct.  Praise should be genuine and specific.  Remember not to disqualify your positive remark with a “but…”.  Try to maintain a 4:1 ratio of positive to negative.

·    Allow children to make age-appropriate choices.  Make sure that all the choices are realistic and ones that you can live with.

·    Model responsible behavior.  Set an example of respect for self and others—be on time for appointments, finish necessary chores before relaxing, speak respectfully to children, handle anger appropriately.

·    Talk about all feelings-positive and negative.  Talking about feelings helps children develop sensitivity to the feelings of others and to manage their own emotions.

·    Help children to understand the importance of giving to others.  Caring for other living creatures is a great way to help children develop empathy.  Being a responsible person means looking out for others as well as yourself.

·    Assign chores.  From an early age, kids are capable of putting away their toys and helping with simple tasks.  Completing chores gives children a sense of accomplishment and helps to know that they are an important part of the family.



Encouraging your child to become responsible starts at an early age.  It may take a lot of time and patience on your part, but it will be worth every bit of effort, both for you and for your developing child.




KIDBITS:  Tips for Kids to Grow in Responsibility


•Everyone makes mistakes.  Good kids sometimes make poor choices. Have a goal to improve next time.


•If we make a mistake, we need to own up to it, learn from it and then make it better.


•Sorry means doing things differently next time.



TIDBITS: Timely Topics for Parents…


Families Experiencing Separation and Divorce



•Divorcing parents often feel anxious about how divorce will affect their children and for how long.


• Talk with your child at an appropriate developmental level about these four divorce facts:

1.   Adults get married for adult reasons.

2.   Adults get divorce for adult reasons.

3.   It is not your fault.

4.   Your parents still love you.


•Keep the line of communication open with your child(ren).


• Read The Dinosaurs Divorce by Lauren & Marc Brown with your child(ren) – for kindergarten to third grade.  This book is great for generating discussion, validating feelings, and explaining the ins and outs of divorce in kid language.


•Draft a calendar at least a month in advance for events and over nights; discuss important holidays at least a year in advance.


• If phone or face-to-face conversations are tense, try e-mailing or faxing messages.


• Do not ask children to carry messages back and forth.


•Be civil to your former spouse/partner.  Being too friendly can confuse the children. It can encourage children to go into denial and desperately hold on to the hope that mom and dad will eventually get back together. Being angry and disrespectful towards each other in front of the children is extremely damaging.  Practicing a civil divorce means you are respectful in your interactions with each other, you refrain from using your children a pawn, and you keep the children’s best interest in mind.


•Both parents should go to child-centered activities; i.e., parent-teacher-conferences, school performances, sports activities, etc.


•Do not degrade the other parent or their new partner in front of the child.


• Pay attention to your tone of voice when talking to your former spouse/partner.


• Make sure the children know (again and again) the divorce is not their fault.


•Consider therapy for the children during the divorce proceedings to help make the transition to co-parenting.


• Consider counseling for the children.


•Do not lean on your children for emotional report.


•Get involved in divorce support groups.


•Fact: Most children adapt well; between 20%-25% suffer significant adjustment problems, such as depression and substance abuse, as teenagers.  A key predictor of depression in children is the feeling of being caught between their parents – from the constant quizzing from house to house to even being asked whom they like more. (National Institute of Mental Health)


• Fact: One in three children reported that they were still embroiled in the bitterness between battling parents five years after the divorce. (2001 American Board of Family Practice)


•Remember:  You can divorce each other but you can’t divorce your kids!!!




KIDBITS: Tips for Kids Experiencing Separation and Divorce…


•Four facts about divorce:

5.   Adults get married for adult reasons.

6.   Adults get divorce for adult reasons.

7.   It is not your fault.

8.   Your parents still love you.


•Any way you are feeling is OK.


• Find healthy ways to express your feelings:

·   Exercise:

o    Ride your bike

o    Run, skip, hop, walk, swing, slide

o    Skip rope

o    Roller blade, roller skate

·   Talk to a friend

·   Play with a friend or toy

·   Draw a picture

·   Write in a journal

·   Do relaxation techniques

·   Take a warm bath or shower

·   Make a feelings box,  put it in your box

·   Cry, you may feel better later

·   Watch a funny movie

·   Read or look at a book





TIDBITS for Parents…

15 Ways To Make Your Child Feel Special


1.     Whenever possible, talk to your child at his or her eye level.


2.     Have a special reading time before bed or during another part of the day.


3.     Make occasional time for a separate treat or excursion without brothers or sisters.


4.     You too can play with your child!


5.     Provide individual storage space for toys.


6.     Let your child plan a meal from start to finish.


7.     Establish some basic rules about clothing, but allow your child choice and independence in dressing.


8.     Write simple messages to your child and place them in your child’s lunch box.


9.     Let your child dial that eagerly anticipated phone call to Grandma and Grandpa.


10.   Present a chore like setting the table as important and praiseworthy.


11.   Accept and value your child’s efforts, school-related and otherwise, but don’t over-praise!


12.   Be alert to signs of your child’s special talents.


13.   Listen to and watch your child carefully to discover his or her rhythm.


14.   Find time to write down dictated stories or help your child send letters to friends and loved ones.


15.     Offer to share your own expertise in your child!



KIDBITS: Tips for Kids to be more Self-confident…


•Read or listen to the books (for younger children): The Little Engine That Could, Amazing Grace, or books by Nancy Carlson


                        •Use positive self-talk “I think I can.  I know I can. It’s hard, but I will do my best.”


•Decorate a can.  Write items you can do on strips of paper. Place the strips of paper in the can.  Share what you can do with others.






TIDBITS:  Timely Topics for Parents…

Bullying Prevention: Facts You Should Know


Bullying is becoming an ever-growing problem in elementary schools.  More and more students are being affected in some way by bullying behaviors. 


Bullying occurs when …

·   A student is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more students. 

·   Bullying implies an imbalance of power, which means that one person has more power than another person. 

·   How does one child get more power than another child of the approximate age?  A child can get more power than another child by being physically bigger and stronger or by being smarter or tougher.  However, the number one way that a child can get more power than another child is by being more popular.


Bullies Tend To…

·   Have average to high self-esteem.

·   Have a large group of friends.

·   Be hot-tempered and impulsive.

·   Have dominant personalities.

·   Lack empathy.

·   Have positive attitudes toward violence.

·   Have physical strength.

·   Have decreasing interest in school.


Targets tend to…

·   Become withdrawn at school and at home.

·   Be anxious or fearful about coming to school.

·   Have decreasing self-esteem.

·   Can become depressed.

·   Have trouble sleeping.

·   Have reduced appetite.





Family Risk Factors for Bullying

·   Lack of parental warmth and involvement.

·   Lack of parental supervision.

·   Overly permissive parenting.

·   Harsh discipline and physical punishment.


** In a recent study by Dr. Dan Olweus, author of Bullying in Schools and creator of a nationally recognized and merited program, bullies were 4 times as likely to have 3 or more convictions by the age of 24!!


What Can You As a Parent Do?


So, now that you have the facts, what can you do to help your children in bullying situations?


1.   Know your children’s friends!  Studies show that knowing who your children hang out with helps them to make good choices.  The type of people that your children choose to befriend can be a good indication of the type of people your children are when away from home. 

2.   Talk to your children about bullying and tell them that you do not allow bullying behaviors.  Tell them that you do not want them to participate in any type of bullying behaviors. 

3.   If you believe that one of your children is exhibiting bullying behaviors, talk to them about it!  Help them to understand how their behavior may be affecting other students.

4.   If you notice that one of your children seems to be withdrawn and fearful about going to school, ask them why.  Let them know that they can tell you anything, and help them to understand that if something is happening or has happened to them at school that you will be there to help them every step of the way.

5.   Call the school counselor!  The school counselor is available to help you in any way that he or she can.

6.   Take your child’s concerns seriously!  When one of your children expresses concern about someone bothering them at school, be supportive.  Avoid saying things like, “Just ignore them, and they will stop” or “Handle it on your own”.  This only causes them to feel alone with the issue.



For more information, please feel free to visit the following websites or call your friendly school counselor:






KIDBITS: Tips for Kids for Handling Teasing and Bullying…


·   If you think that someone is bullying you, then make sure to tell an adult at school and at home.  If you tell one person and you feel like he/she does not listen, then tell someone else!

·   Help other students who are being bullied by telling an adult when you see something happening or inviting the student to play with you. 

·   Remember there is safety in numbers!  Decide with your friends that are not going to let bullying occur at your school!




TIDBITS:  Timely Topics for Parents…


School Days:  Routines and Starting School


School Days:  Routines


            Mornings and evenings can sometimes be stressful times for families.  One way to limit the difficulties with getting ready for school in the morning or going to bed at night is to establish routines---a consistent order for getting important things done.


            In the Morning…


·    have a daily wake-up time (set an alarm clock)

·    have a predictable order of events/tasks to be accomplished (post a list)

·    have a morning greeting (adults to children, children to adults)

·    eat breakfast

·    set a time limit for getting ready (game:  “Beat the Clock”)    

·    make a positive comment when your child completes a morning activity

·    ask children if they have what they need for school



In the Evening…


·    have a set time for doing homework

·    allow reasonable play time (after school, but not directly before bed)

·    after dinner, make clear your expectations of the evening’s activities

·    have a firm bedtime

·    help your child with calming activities (other than TV watching) before bed

·    have child get school supplies and next day’s outfit ready the night before

·    have a spot for the backpack




School Days:  Starting School


            Starting school for the first time or simply getting “back into the swing” of the school year, can be difficult for some children. Below are some tips that may help.


*have morning and bedtime routines (e.g. post a list of 3 to 5 things you expect your child to do in the morning; do the same for an evening routine)

            *express confidence in your child (e.g. “I know you’ll get off to a good start!”)

            * encourage children to do their best

            * wave to your child as he/she gets on the bus or walks into school

            *help your young child sort through his/her backpack daily

            *check for communication from school

            *write important, school-related events and projects on a calendar

            *listen to your child tell you two good things about his/her day

            *try to problem solve together about any negative aspects of the day

            *begin to encourage self-responsibility




KIDBITS:  Tips for Kids for  being ready for school


            1.  Have a spot at home to keep your backback

            2.  Make a place at home to do your homework

            3.  Put homework in a folder and right into your backpack when you are done

            4.  Show your parents important papers form school

            5.  Tell yourself, “I can do it!” (not “I can’t”)

            6.  Do your best

            7.  Ask adults questions, if you can’t solve the problem yourself, first


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