5 Ways a School Counselor Can Connect with Parents

I'm back again with a fantastic blog post from Counselor Chelsey. Chelsey is a licensed social worker with experience as a school counselor. She has dynamite ideas and develops some of the best counseling curriculum around. As an elementary school counselor I sometimes find it difficult to connect with my parents. Thanks to the ideas in Chelsey's blog post I've been able to implement each suggestion and I've seen my relationship with my parents flourish.

5 Ways A School Counselor Can Connect With Parents
You bust your butt to make sure that your students are thriving at school. You implement the right interventions, you run engaging small groups, and your counseling lessons are interactive and informative. But sometimes it still seems like you aren’t seeing any progress with your students. Does this sound familiar? If so, keep reading.

Today I am going to remind you about an important piece of school counseling that can often be overlooked or forgotten about - parent engagement. While it is absolutely important that we do everything we can at school to help each student excel, we cannot forget to involve the families. Having parents coming alongside you in the work that you are doing, and getting to work together as a team, will make a huge impact on the effectiveness of the great things you do. Here are five easy ideas to help you connect with parents and families at your school.

1. Introduce Yourself
This seems so simple, but it’s so important! If a parent doesn’t know who you are, they may be less likely to reach out to you for support. You can introduce yourself formally at school events such as open house or back to school nights, and you can do it informally by stopping to meet the parents and families you see in the hallways. It doesn’t have to be a long discussion, you can simply just share your name, briefly explain your role, and invites the parents to reach out to you if they have any concerns or questions.

2. Make Positive Phone Calls
Thankfully, positive phone calls are something that are getting more and more common at many schools. The idea behind them is to increase the amount of positive interactions with parents and families instead of only reaching out when there is a concern. As a school counselor, many of the students we consistently work with may not get much positive feedback. A two minute phone call sharing progress or accomplishments may be exactly what that student needs to feel excited about making positive change. Plus, it will allow the parents to see that you are on their team!

3. Send Home Letters or E-mails
Sending home information about what you are teaching in your small group and classroom counseling lessons is a great way to promote your counseling program and invite them to build upon your lessons at home. These can be just a brief, simple explanation of the topic you are covering. This gives parents the invitation to reach out to you with any feedback or concerns and shows them that you are willing to take time to include them in their child’s social emotional learning. If you aren’t sure what to include, check out the parent letters I’ve created about different character education topics!

4. Create A Website Or Facebook Page
Creating a social media page or a website for your school counseling program can be another great way to let parents know what you are covering in your classroom and small group lessons and can also be used to connect them to additional resources. A Facebook or Twitter page is an easy way to share information such as helpful articles, community resources, topics you are teaching about, and upcoming events. If you are looking for something with a few more options, you can also create a website using WIX or another platform!

5. Host Parent and Family Nights
One of my all time favorite ways to connect with families, while helping them learn about various social emotional topics, is by hosting a family learning night. These can take many different forms, and can be used to cover various topics. Family nights, like this mindfulness one, are a great way to promote family bonding while they learn together about important social emotional themes. If you have a PTA at your school, this is a great event to work on together! If you are looking for some ideas to get you started, grab a free ideas list and planning sheet by signing up below for my weekly e-mails!