Every child needs excellent teachers in their corner. But a solid educational team can’t be limited to the classroom—the support system has to be more varied than textbooks and lesson plans.
Enter school counselors. They provide academic guidance, yes, but also personal, social, and emotional support. In today’s day and age, where stress levels are higher than ever, these invaluable professionals are essential.
Bestlifeonline.com spoke with school counselors from all over the country about what they wish parents understood better—these are their top pieces of advice.
It’s okay to let your children fail
Though it’s natural to want to protect your kids from missteps at all costs, it’s fine to let them fail a little—especially in elementary and middle school, when their grades don’t go on a permanent record.
“This is the time to let kids figure out time management and study skills,” says Christine MacInnis, a school counselor at Orchard Hills School in Irvine, California. “They can also learn how to advocate for themselves in the classroom before it becomes all too real in high school.”
Never request one teacher over another
Unless your child had a particularly bad experience with a teacher, MacInnis says that parents should not request a specific teacher for their child. “Don’t rely on the parent gossip chain regarding information about teachers,” she notes. “The one teacher your best friend’s son disliked could very well be your child’s favorite.”
One decision won’t dictate where your child goes to college
Society’s obsession with getting into “good “colleges has clearly gotten out of hand. (Look no further than the recent “Operation Varsity Blues” college admissions scandal.) But, as MacInnis explains, one decision won’t make or break your child’s chances of getting into a great university, especially when they’re young.
“I hear even kindergarten parents worry about future high school scheduling. Stop the madness!” she says. “There is a college for every child if you look beyond the boundaries of the six named universities, like Harvard or Yale. So please stop worrying.”
An adjustment period at the beginning of the year is totally normal
The relative lack of structure and bedtimes that come with summer make it a fun season for kids. But that means going back to school may not always be an easy transition.
“Parents should know that it is okay—even healthy and normal—for their child to have a hard time getting back into school mode,” says Jennifer Newberry, a school counselor at Bennett Day School in Chicago. “When a child is having difficulty adjusting, it’s crucial that parents don’t try to fix everything for them, but, instead, teach their child to be a resourceful problem-solver.”
Routines are hugely important
One way to combat the transition challenges from the summer to the school year is to get your child on a routine. “Implementing a schedule can help your child feel much more structure,” says Lauren Cook, a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at Pepperdine University and author of. “Even though they might not know how to vocalize that they feel stressed, having a plan each day is a wonderful way to set normalcy for a new school year.”