Hope everyone has been having a great August so far — time sure does fly by quickly, doesn’t it?
School has already begun today for some, so here are some helpful back to school tips written by Co-Founder and Clinical Director of Star Point Counseling Center Brandon and Tampa Clarissa Crystal-Belle:
1. Create and Maintain a Pleasant Home Atmosphere That is Conducive to Learning.
a) Keep your kitchen and common living areas tidy, calm and welcoming.
b) Establish doable routines and structure for self care, extracurricular activities, chores, homework, one on one and family time, and bedtime.
c) Provide healthy food choices avoiding stimulants such as fruit juice, carbonated drinks, caffeine, and sugar after 5PM.
d) Unplug all electronics at least until all of “b’ (except, of course, bedtime), has been accomplished.
e) Provide appropriate clothes that fit and meet school dress codes as well as adequate hygiene and self care products.
2. Communicate acceptance, approval, affection, support and encouragement.
a. Practice and use warm morning and afterschool greetings.
b. Express confidence in your child, preteen and teen.
c. Instill a can-do attitude by identifying his or her prior accomplishments, strengths, qualities, and attributes, daily.
d. Ask open ended questions to help identify, resolve, manage or eliminate specific stress factors he or she may be shouldering. Stress factors may overwhelm, embarrass, frustrate or even defeat your child, pertaining to challenges with academics, peers, or other personal factors you might otherwise not be privy to.
e. Be supportive and solution focused when addressing areas in which your child, preteen or teen is struggling to meet home, school or social expectations. Offering a tutor for a difficult subject, activities for social isolation or poor peer selection, a change in routine for insufficient sleep, etc., can make all the difference.
3. Keep yourself well.
a. Eat healthy and get plenty of exercise, relaxation, and sleep.
b. Keep yourself in good company when socializing.
c. Carve out some down time and alone time even if that means getting up a half hour earlier than the others in the home.
d. Choose your battles carefully.
e. Identify and utilize family, school and community resources as needed.
f. Have fun! Enjoy yourself and your family as much as possible.
4. Know when to seek professional help. Your children, preteens or teens may benefit from professional counseling services if presenting changes in behavior such as any one or more of the following:
a. An increase in negativity. A child, preteen or teen may benefit from professional services if he or she becomes defiant, non-compliant, argumentative, hostile, disorganized, or quick tempered, such as screaming, yelling and name calling.
b. A decrease in socialization. Seek help if he or she becomes more and more isolated, withdrawn, melancholy, bored and/or depressed. Seek immediate help if your child threatens or inflicts self harm or makes suicidal statements, threats or gestures.
c. A sudden and sustained change in mood, peer selection, activities, interests, behavior, sleep and/or eating patterns may indicate a need for counseling services.
d. A significant change in academic performance and/or school behavior, as evidenced by poor grades on assignments, quizzes, tests and projects, multiple zeros for failure to do or to turn in homework, a disorganized back pack, negative teacher reports and school referrals, may also suggest a need for counseling .
Starpoint Counseling Center therapists are available Monday through Saturday from 11AM-8:00PM to assist you and your family in assuring a successful outcome throughout the school year. See our websites for both the Brandon or Tampa locations and call Co-Founder and Executive Business Director Sam DiFranco to schedule an appointment at (813)244-1251. We are here for you!