School counselors play an important role in children’s mental health. Individualized support, group sessions, classroom-wide social-emotional learning (SEL), crisis support, and assessment cover the wide range of ways school counselors support children’s emotional learning and well-being.
Whether your child has been seeing a school counselor for a while or you are wondering if they would be able to support your child’s needs, here are a few ideas that can help you connect with and build a relationship with your child’s school counselor.
- Ask questions. It’s okay to want to know if and how a counselor could help your child. School counselors can let you know about the work they do (i.e. types of interventions they use) and can give practical tips and tricks regarding your child’s needs (e.g. how to help a child with separation anxiety.) Asking questions helps you make informed decisions for your child and your family.
- Report back behavior and emotion data. School counselors only see children during the school day, making it hard to know what is going on at home, during sports, or with friends. Providing school counselors with information about your child’s behaviors and emotions at home and in the community helps your counselor better support your child and provide helpful tools to support them.
- Brainstorm strategies for home. Collaborating with parents and caregivers is an important way counselors can support a child’s emotional well-being. Ask your school counselor what has been helpful for your child at school or within sessions, and what you can practice at home with your child to supplement their work in school. They will have plenty of ideas and ways that you can support and translate school counseling work to your home.
- Ask about additional resources that could be helpful. School counselors are an integral part of the community and often know about additional resources that can be helpful for your child. This could include references to outpatient therapists, psychiatrists, or other support services to help your child get more support. It could also include curricula, books, or websites that could provide more information and help you to support your child more independently.