4 Personal Body Safety Books You Need to Add Your Shelf Today

I don’t recall ever being explicitly taught as a child that I could tell an adult “no” if I was uncomfortable with their touch. Chatting with a friend recently, she shared how she was tickled until it hurt, and her family all thought it was hysterically funny. Many of us have experienced tickles and hugsContinue reading “4 Personal Body Safety Books You Need to Add Your Shelf Today”

The 7 Things You Can Do Today to Improve Your Child’s Anxiety

Growing up, it was inevitable that just before something fun or scary, I would become horribly ill. Every Thanksgiving, Christmas, big family outing, vacation, test, and party was always the same–I was sick. My parents took me to the doctor time and again, but the physicians were never able to say what was happening withContinue reading “The 7 Things You Can Do Today to Improve Your Child’s Anxiety”

What’s Below the Anger? It’s Not What You Think: 10 Tips to a Calming a Tantrum

Most adults assume that what we see is what we get. I’ve had a number of conversations over the years with teachers (and parents) who were completely perplexed by a child that had “gone off” seemingly without provocation. These poor people were totally bewildered, “I told him to get his book out, and he startedContinue reading “What’s Below the Anger? It’s Not What You Think: 10 Tips to a Calming a Tantrum”

25 Ways to Help Your Students Become More Confident

The Polk Mentoring Alliance has created an exceptional list of 25 confidence-building activities. Many of these activities can be done individually or in small or large group formats. Most of the ideas are low to no cost and often don’t require many supplies. I have outlined 7 of my favorites below. Positively imagining the futureContinue reading “25 Ways to Help Your Students Become More Confident”

Doing This Helps Teens Feel Happier, Less Anxious, & More Productive

For all of my high school and college counselors out there, this could be an amazing project for your students to learn emotional introspection (remotely.) Self-Authoring is an online program that allows students to learn writing skills, develop goal setting, and enhance their self-reflection skills by writing prompts regarding their past, present, and future. WritingContinue reading “Doing This Helps Teens Feel Happier, Less Anxious, & More Productive”

A Simple Intervention to Reduce Anxiety & Depression in Your School

Every student should feel they belong in school, but not every student thinks that they belong. When children don’t have at least one positive adult relationship in school, they are vulnerable to a myriad of maladies and are far less likely to achieve academic success. School connectedness is the strongest factor in reducing incidents ofContinue reading “A Simple Intervention to Reduce Anxiety & Depression in Your School”

Virtual School Counseling SEL Lessons for K-4 Students

Teaching an emotional vocabulary is the first step to helping children learn to manage their emotions. The Emotional ABC’s program has recently made their accounts to FREE to teachers and counselors. The online program provides a format for counselors to allow their students to access online lessons from home. Through the Emotional ABC’s program, studentsContinue reading “Virtual School Counseling SEL Lessons for K-4 Students”

Reduce Shame: Help Kids Understand Why They Lose Control

Teaching children how to manage their emotions is an essential skill to ensure healthy and positive relationships. We previously discussed the benefits of bringing awareness to our feelings and naming them to exert control. However, giving kids tangible descriptors to understand how their brains maintain control can also help them know how to bring theirContinue reading “Reduce Shame: Help Kids Understand Why They Lose Control”

Tame Big Feelings Through Body Scans

We make ourselves more vulnerable to being overwhelmed by big emotions when we seek to ignore or suppress our feelings. By bringing attention to our bodies, we can become aware of our feelings and thus gain control over those feelings. Body awareness puts us in touch with our inner world, the landscape of our organism.Continue reading “Tame Big Feelings Through Body Scans”

Answering Questions About School Counseling Lessons From a Distance

Many school counselors and teachers are struggling to adapt their in-person lesson plans to the online format, but I think I have the solution. If you have not already used this resource in your classroom, you are going to fall in love! Last month, our tech guru, Gina McGhee, introduced me to PearDeck, which is anContinue reading “Answering Questions About School Counseling Lessons From a Distance”

5 Things You Can Do to be Happy Now

In 2011, Shawn Achor delivered his Ted Talk titled, “The Happy Secret to Better Work” and made the research of happiness a mainstream phenomenon. Given that 2020 has been one long and winding rollercoaster for all of us, it seems rather apropos that we have a reminder for how to adjust our happiness. If you’veContinue reading “5 Things You Can Do to be Happy Now”

Are You Tempted to Send Kids to the Hallway? Read This First

Do kids want to be sent out of the classroom? In counseling, we often ask, “What is the function of the behavior?” or “How is this behavior serving this student?” Our goal is not to take whatever is said or done personally, but to become curious about the behavior. During my school counseling internship, IContinue reading “Are You Tempted to Send Kids to the Hallway? Read This First”

Read This to Discover a Powerful Method to Teach Children Emotional Regulation

This past week I worked with my 5th-grade students on developing coping strategies when they “flip their lids.” Child psychiatrist and author of Hindsight and Brainstorm Daniel Siegel describe the process that leads to explosive anger as “flipping your lid” and something that occurs when individuals haven’t yet learned how to regulate their emotions effectively. When our students (orContinue reading “Read This to Discover a Powerful Method to Teach Children Emotional Regulation”

How We Invalidate Children’s Feelings Without Realizing It

Have you ever been really frustrated and been told to “just get over it?” Did that statement to “suck it up” really help you move past your frustration or just infuriate you even more? What about when you said you felt a particular way and someone pitied you, ignored you, refuted your feelings, or pepperedContinue reading “How We Invalidate Children’s Feelings Without Realizing It”

Tired of fighting? Teach Kids How To Cooperate

I love that I have the opportunity to teach kids how to get along with one another.  What a gift!  This free lesson plan for cooperation can be adapted from 5th grade up through high school aged students and beyond.  I’ll keep this post short because the bulk of the information about the lesson isContinue reading “Tired of fighting? Teach Kids How To Cooperate”

This Is Why We Teach Kids How To Dream

“Fear and lack of imagination choke your dreams so that you already know on the day that you’re born just where you’ll die and who it is that’ll bury you.” -Barack Obama I keep going back to the notion that we don’t know what we don’t know. I taught a lesson this week about perseveranceContinue reading “This Is Why We Teach Kids How To Dream”

Fun Activities to Teach Kids About Self-Control

Learning to regulate emotions can be challenging for many students, but it is a critical component of development and one that can be taught in fun and interesting ways. Below are a few techniques to help your students develop these critical skills. USE BOOKS AS EXAMPLES I love starting a lesson with a story and Clark the SharkContinue reading “Fun Activities to Teach Kids About Self-Control”

When Should a Parent Let Their Kid Quit?

Parents regularly seek out my advice on how to handle a truly complex and sometimes serious issue; when should they let their student quit? The American culture of “dig in” and “stick with it” can leave parents fighting an intense battle with their child about work ethic and commitment. What happens when the child hasContinue reading “When Should a Parent Let Their Kid Quit?”

Do Social and Emotional Programs Really Work?

If you’ve been in the school counseling field for any length of time, you know the importance of social and emotional development. You understand that a kid who is flipping a desk cannot possibility learn math in that moment and those executive functioning skills must be taught first. But how can only one person, theContinue reading “Do Social and Emotional Programs Really Work?”

I Used Mindfulness in a Classroom Lesson and This is How It Went

I have been practicing mindfulness for a little over two years now and have discovered that through this daily practice, I’ve trained my brain to be more in tune with the world and have learned to focus my attention better throughout the day.  I’ve realized that I’m more resilient and able to bounce back fromContinue reading “I Used Mindfulness in a Classroom Lesson and This is How It Went”

Worried About Your Kids Online? This Can Help

I was recently asked to speak to parents about online safety for kids and after reading the first safety article in my research, I felt compelled to crawl into the fetal position; the internet can be a scary place for kids. Let’s get the scary stuff out of the way first: online predators, identity thieves,Continue reading “Worried About Your Kids Online? This Can Help”

Work Smarter, Not Harder With These Free Lesson Plans

I firmly believe in the notion of working smarter, not harder, which is why I was so excited when I stumbled across The NED Show a character education program that provides a number of FREE lesson plans that you can print right from your computer.  The list of lesson topics includes many of the sameContinue reading “Work Smarter, Not Harder With These Free Lesson Plans”

Erin’s Law: A Personal Body Safety Lesson

We teach kids the importance of wearing seatbelts, helmets, and the consequences of hot objects, but until recently we hadn’t taught kids how to protect themselves against sexual abuse.  According to Rainn, in a school of 1,000 students, 98  (1:6 girls and 1:33 boys) will likely be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. Fortunately, my home state,Continue reading “Erin’s Law: A Personal Body Safety Lesson”

Calm Down Corners & Break Cards: What You Need to Know

Do our students need a break just as much as we do? You can bet on it. Students need the ability to remove themselves from difficult or negative situations.  As adults, we might take a walk or feign some excuse to get out of a bad situation, but in the traditional model of education, aContinue reading “Calm Down Corners & Break Cards: What You Need to Know”

This Trick Can Help You Reach All of Your Students Every Single Day

If your goal is to impact an entire school, which it is, then you need to use layers of support and connection.  On a good day, a school counselor might be able to individually meet with 15 to 20 kids, but in a school of 800 students, that would be leaving 780 kids without accessContinue reading “This Trick Can Help You Reach All of Your Students Every Single Day”