Best School Year YET

The Prevention team at Family Service took some time to give parents some helpful hints as the new school year approaches. If you found this helpful, share this email with folks in your network.

Beginnings can be awkward:
Beginning anything, and that includes beginning a new grade, is sure to produce feelings of nervousness and excitement. “Nervouscited” refers to this mixture of emotions which can happen within minutes of each other or days apart. One minute your child is excited about the coming year and the next proclaiming they are not going. This is NORMAL! Validate that it can be difficult, but remind them that they can do difficult things.

Take the time to have a conversation with your child about what you expect from them for the coming year, both academically and behaviorally. Remember, when talking about expectations, it is best to concentrate on process (their effort) vs. outcome, and remember to be specific. Instead of setting an expectation of getting straight As, rephrase it as an expectation of doing
homework, studying for tests, and doing their best. Instead of saying you expect your child to be a good citizen at school, talk to them about treating other students and teachers with respect, standing up for others, and appreciating everyone’s uniqueness.

Set a consistent bedtime for your child, and stick with it every night. Getting enough sleep is critical for a child to stay healthy and be successful in school (American Academy of Pediatrics). It will also make the transition to the new school much less stressful if your child is well-rested.

Always remember, the most important gift we can give our child while they transition to any grade in school is to listen. So often we move into “fix it” mode when all our child really wants is to be heard and validated for how they are feeling. Reflective or mirror listening is a tool that allows you, the listener, to summarize what you have heard and indicate how you think your child is feeling. Listen without lectures, judgment, or imposing your solution to the situation. Try this trick and see how much your child opens up to you!
Remember that you and your child will get through this transition! Growth occurs when stepping out of your comfort zone. Be assured, you and your child can get through this transition together. If you or your child are experiencing difficulties, remember there are people in schools to help. Enlist the support of your child’s counselor, teachers, or administrator. They are there to help with the transition; use them!

Welcome our newest addition to the counseling team Sarah Rosenthal! Sarah  has over twenty years experience counseling children, teens and their families. Her clinical modalities include DBT, CBT, Mindfulness, EMDR and Social Cognitive Training. After receiving her Masters in Social Work degree in 1994 from Tulane School of Social Work in New Orleans, LA, Sarah has worked with children, youth, young adults and parents in both school and outpatient settings. She has also taught undergraduate social work and psychology courses at Champlain College in Burlington, VT. She has a particular interest in supporting neurodiverse clients and those with learning disabilities.

Brenna is an intern at Family Service of Chester County in the counseling program. Brenna earned her bachelor's degree at York College of Pennsylvania and is currently studying for her Master of Social Work degree (MSW) at West Chester University of Pennsylvania.

Family Service of Chester County is hoping a new strategic plan unveiled this month will help it better serve the individuals and families in Chester County in need of its counseling and support services.

To read the plan, go to