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Helpful Tips for Parents


On this page are numerous topics that may be of concern as your child goes through the elementary years.  As always, please feel free to contact Dr. Harnois, School Counselor, if you have any questions or concerns regarding your child.


Anger Management
Learning to manage anger is an important life skill. Discussing and modeling appropriate ways you as parents handle anger is a great way to help kids managing their own anger. (Kids tend to pay more attention to what you do than what you say.) There are many ways you can practice managing anger with your child, including:

  • Take a break (moving away from what makes you angry)

  • Do a physical activity (shoot hoops, do jumping jacks, or run the track)

  • Take deep breaths

  • Count to 10 

  • Listen to music

  • Squish Play-Doh

  • Color your feelings

  • Write your feelings in a journal entry, story, or poem

  • Read a quiet book to yourself (When Sophie Gets Angry is a good one!)

  • Positive self-talk (I can control my anger...)





Everyone experiences some anxiety from time to time.  If anxiety begins to affect your child's school and home functioning, there are many things you can do to help your child in addition to possibly consulting a mental health professional.

  • Listen to your child's worries and fears and remind them that they are not alone and that other kids have worries too.

  • Help children address their concerns and, if they are not realistic, help them see the truth.

  • Help your child gradually ease into new situations that may cause anxiety and provide encouragement when they are in these situations.

  • Practice relaxing including deep breathing, counting to 10, visualizations (taking a pretend field trip to the relaxing beach or a peaceful meadow), and listening to calming music.

  • Encourage structured play dates or extracurricular activities if your child has an anxious temperament.

  • Promote your child's independence and build on their strengths.

  • Avoid over-scheduling activities, such as baseball, soccer,dance lessons, play dates, etc.  Teaching children to balance their time with activities and downtime will help them not to over-commit when they enter high school. Just like grownups, children need some downtime to decompress.

  • Limit your child's exposure to upsetting news or stories.  Be mindful of what you discuss around your children. They don't need to know everything.  Also, be aware of broadcast news covering reports of earthquakes, severe storms, terrorism, crime, etc.





Bullying Prevention
We work hard to prevent bullying at our school but, we also want our students to be prepared and know what to do if bullying occurs. This year, we will be teaching Stop, Walk, and Talk, a strategy where students learn how to handle bullying behaviors.

  • STOP: First, students are taught and role play how to appropriately and assertively request another person to stop bothersome or hurtful behavior. 

  • WALK: If this does not work, we train on how students can remove themselves from the situation. 

  • TALK: If this does not work, the last step is to talk to an adult. We take this very seriously and want all of our children to feel listened to and safe at school.


The curriculum can be found at Parents can help by reinforcing Stop, Walk, and Talk by discussing the strategy and practicing it at home as well as listening to your child's concerns about possibly bullying behaviors and sharing your concerns with your child's teachers.


College and Career

Even though your child is still in elementary school, it's never too early to start talking about college and career! There are many ways parents can help children create a college-going culture!

  • Talk about your education and career

  • Discuss a variety of other careers so your child knows there are many options out there

  • Talk about your child's college and career goals

  • Consider the value of technical colleges!  They offer great paying careers without incurring a huge amount of college debt.

  • Introduce your child to colleges and after high-school training programs by visiting websites together.

  • Encourage your child to do the best they can now in order to prepare for the future and develop his or her strengths.


Conflict Resolution  
Conflicts are a part of our lives every single day and because of this, we want our students to develop conflict resolution skills to help in these situations. There are many choices your child can make when in conflict in order to gain a win-win solution. You can help your child role play and decide when to use the following choices when in conflict:

  • Talk it out (use an inside voice)

  • Say "Please stop"

  • Walk away and stay away

  • Ignore...don't react

  • Cool off (count to 10, take deep breaths)

  • Say "I'm sorry"

  • Share or take turns

  • Use an I-message (I feel ____ when ____ and I need ____.)

  • Have a Peer Mediation






Developing Self-Esteem
Every parent wants a happy, healthy child with a strong sense of self-esteem and self-confidence. Here are some ways parents can support and grow their child's self-esteem:

  • Choose your words carefully and make sure to provide encouragement for your child.

  • Model positive self-esteem and positive self-talk.

  • Create a positive home environment where students feel safe and loved.

  • Allow your child to become involved in cooperative activities such as volunteering for the good of others in order to feel good about themselves.

  • Help your child give others compliments and make others feel good in order to trigger positive feelings amongst themselves.



Because lots of things will be changing in your child's life, try to keep things as consistent as possible for your child; routines = stability = safety

  • Listen to your child's feelings and make sure they know it's okay to share their feelings

  • Refrain from speaking negatively about the other parent in front of your child

  • Allow kids to only have to worry about "kid worries"

  • When kids ask questions, tell the truth in age appropriate ways

  • Make sure your child is not the "middle man"

  • Remind your child that he or she is very loved and never has to choose one parent over the other



Grief and Loss

Losing a loved one can be extremely hard for individuals of any age. Below are a few ways you as parents can support your children through this difficult time:

  • Understand that children cope with death differently and may have a range of reactions (including emotional shock, regression, acting out and explosive emotions, and questioning) depending on their developmental level.

  • Answer your child's questions and help them understand what happened with truthful, developmentally appropriate responses.

  • Allow children to grieve and tell their story, listen and validate their feelings, and show extra love and care.

  • Understand that grief is a process and allow it to happen as the child needs.

  • Realize that as children move into new developmental stages, they begin to understand the loss in a new way and may need extra support.

  • Be aware of your own need to grieve as a parent; adults who get help working through their grief are much more able to help their child through the grieving process.


Homework Hints
To help ensure your child finds success with homework, there are many things you can do to help! In addition to modeling getting your own work done in a timely fashion and modeling organization, you can help children in many other ways such as:

  • Allow your child to re-energize themselves after school by taking a break, having a snack, or playing a game before beginning homework

  • Create a routine for homework each night using the same time and place each day

  • Encourage children to use planners to stay organized with assignments

  • Have a set place for homework like a big desk with all necessary materials available such as pencils, paper, books, and calculators; make sure the area is free of distractions

  • Sometimes a break may help with concentration during homework time

Click the links below for tutoring resources:





Internet Safety/Cyber-bullying

There are many ways you can help keep your child safe when using the internet, including

  • Discuss internet safety with your child

  • Monitor your child's internet activity by making sure they use a computer that is in a common area such as a family room rather than a child's bedroom

  • Remind your child to never share personal information (name, address, phone number, school, etc.) with anyone on the internet and never to agree to meet anyone on the internet

  • Do not allow your child to enter private chat rooms




Making Friends
Every parent wants their child to have friends, and if this is an area your child needs help with, there are many things you can do to help, including:

  • Give your child many chances for socialization, including joining an after school club or an extra-curricular activity.

  • Schedule play dates with friends from the neighborhood or friends from school.

  • Role play meeting a new child with your child, greeting each other in a friendly way and making conversation.

  • Practice partaking in conversation with your child and other social skills.

  • Model for your child how to be a good friend and make a friend.





School Transitions
Transitions into elementary school can cause worries for some children. There are many ways a parent can help during these transitional times by:

  • Listening and validating your child's feelings about the change.

  • Let your children know you care about them with extra hugs/nice notes and support.

  • Visit your child's school together.

  • Help your child feel prepared in every way s/he can (school supplies, school clothes, healthy breakfast, etc.).

  • Explain the rules/procedures of school and how things will work and role play going to school and what things may be like.

  • Allow your child to possibly sign-up for an extra-curricular activity in order to make friends and feel like s/he belongs 





Stress Management
Just like adults, difficult, anxiety provoking situations can add stress to a child's life. There are many ways you can help your child cope with stressful situations, including:

  • Practice visualizations (take a pretend field trip to the relaxing beach or a peaceful meadow)

  • Listen to calming music

  • Get lots of rest

  • Eat healthy foods

  • Drink plenty of water

  • Use positive self-talk (I can...)

  • Think positive thoughts

  • Focus on something good that happened that day



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