Newmark Mental Health Newsletter – Summer 2011
By: Cathleen M. George, MSW, Clinical Director, Newmark Schools
Download Summer 2011 Newsletter
Wow, who can believe it’s June already? Yet, here we are, another school year coming to an end, and what a year it was! Our students worked so hard all year and created some wonderful memories they will keep with them always. To all of our 8th graders and their families: Congratulations! We wish you the best of luck next year in high school and hope you will come back to visit us!
The focus of our final newsletter of the year will be to discuss the transition from school to summer, including how to implement structure over the summer, and to discuss self-help skills that all of our students should be working on and practicing throughout the summer. Have a healthy, happy, and very fun summer! See you in September!
Preparing for Summertime
The end of the school year often brings a host of different feelings, from excitement for camps and vacations, to sadness for missing school friends, to stress for figuring out what to do every day for two months. For our students, the transition from a structured school day to a less structured summer day can be difficult. Our students are used to their daily routines; they succeed because they know what to expect each day. This knowledge provides comfort to our students – a comfort that tends to fade as the summer months approach, and is replaced by anxious or uncomfortable feelings.
Below are some ideas on how to help your child and your family have a successful, fun, and safe summer:
- Maintain a routine as much as possible
- Stick to the same bedtimes and mealtimes as much as possible.
- Continue to set limits on the amount of electronic time, including television, video games, and computer time.
- Avoid over-scheduling – Just because you have more time during the day doesn’t mean you have to fill it.
- Pick a few activities that your child really enjoys or would like to do and don’t be afraid to say no to other ones. Your child will be much happier if you do.
- Involve your child in summer activities/planning – When possible, ask for your child’s opinion on activities he/she would like to do. You’ll find that your child will be more interested in the activity if he/she has some input in what he/she can do for the day.
- Utilize a family calendar – Sometimes summer days can get busy. Keep a large family calendar somewhere central in your home to help keep straight everyone’s activities. This will also help your child know what to expect each day.
- Stay in touch with school friends if possible – One of the fun things about school is the opportunity to see your friends every day. It can be hard for your child to adjust to summer days where your child does not get to see his/her friends on a regular basis. Try to schedule some activities with your child’s school friends throughout the summer and encourage them to keep in touch via the phone or email.
- Have FUN!
One of our main focuses in counseling for next year will be to help our students strengthen and improve their independent life skills and self-help skills. We plan to assess our students and teach them different skills, which are crucial to their social and emotional development. Early in the year, we will reach out to all of our parents to ask you which skills you feel are important for your child to learn. Take time over the summer to take note of your child’s strengths and their needs. We value your input and ideas as we work together to help your child develop and grow independently so he/she can be successful in the social world.
The summer provides a great opportunity for you to practice different skills with your child. Some skills you can easily practice at home include eating skills, grooming skills, dressing skills, and household skills. When you recognize that your child has a weakness in a certain skill, help him/her get better at it. Try not to do the skill for them, instead, look for ways to help them learn the skill and then practice the skill. Helping your child become more independent will provide many positive benefits, such as increased self-esteem, a sense of accomplishment, increased confidence in their abilities, accountability, responsibility, and a sense of pride.
For additional information about the importance of developing your child’s self-help skills, download Self Help Skills and Chores.
Steps to teach your child a self-help skill:
- Identify the skill to work on (choose one skill at a time)
- Demonstrate how the skill is completed
- Break down the skill into small steps
- Create a reward system as a motivator for mastering the skill
- Practice, practice, and practice some more
For more detailed information about how to teach your child new skills, please visit:
New 2011/2012 Monthly Counseling Night Dates coming soon.
Remember, every month during the school year we offer a counseling night for you to meet with your child’s counselor. Please call to schedule an appointment.
As always, we are also available by phone (908) 753-0330. Feel free to call anytime.
Mental Health Newsletter Archive
Spring 2011 Issue – Download
Winter 2010 Issue – Download
Spring/Summer 2010 – Download