Thanks to our school counselor, Erin Nasto, for the following post.
During this week (Nov. 14–18, 2016), schools throughout the country will celebrate National School Psychology Awareness Week to highlight the important work school psychologists and other educators do to help all students do their best. Our school psychologist is Mrs. Nasto. We share her with another WCPSS school and she is here working closely with our counselors, social worker and staff for two and a half days a week. This year’s theme is “Small Steps Change Lives.”
There are many ways families can help children make positive changes in small increments. As parents and caregivers, you can:
- Praise attempts, as well as success, and make sure that you focus on the effort or hard work put into the success.
- Emphasize that learning and growing requires trying new things and that success comes from small steps to a long-term goal.
- Help your child internalize a sense that they can achieve by reinforcing the skills already developed and encouraging them to try new challenges.
- Create an environment at home that allows your child to explore building (playing with blocks, helping with projects, and more), drawing (crayons, finger paints, paper), and music (on the radio, with children’s instruments, or through formal training through school or community resources). This may help to identify special interests.
- Emphasize the importance of deliberate practice of a new or old skill for further development, and that talent is developed over time through skillful practice.
- Help your child work through setbacks, or lack of self-confidence, by helping to identify negative thoughts that may suggest concerns about his or her ability to be successful. As a parent, you can help children see what the small steps are and how persisting and overcoming obstacles is a part of succeeding. Help your child realize that setbacks are not permanent or all-encompassing.
- Demonstrate, through your own behaviors, how to identify and achieve long-term goals by thinking aloud, creating a pathway of short-term goals, and using problem solving and decision making skills along the way.
- Encourage your child to participate in community activities that may help them to develop positive behaviors, such as being grateful. In particular, volunteer activities may encourage the development of positive behaviors. Consider participating in community events yourself as role model.