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Parents as Partners event focuses on child behavior

Mantua school counselors cite importance of social skills

The Mantua school district’s most recent Parents as Partners event was a discussion called Being Your Child’s Social Skills Coach, hosted by the district’s counselors and psychologists on March 28.

Presenters included J. Mason Tomlin Elementary School counselors Zul Bigley and Megan Corcoran; school psychologist Kristen Watkins and counselor Lisa Bellocchio, from Centre City School; and Sewell Elementary School psychologist Lauren Villecco.

The event focused on how parents can implement self-awareness and self-management in their children’s lives, including impulse control, stress management and self-confidence.

“I work really closely with kids that come into my office that express non-verbal communication,” said Corcoran about social skills. “And I feel like they really lack the skills and knowledge with what their face looks like when they’re rolling their eyes, and they’re not realizing that all of those have consequences.”

It’s important for parents to address social-emotional skills in their children before they reach elementary-school age, according to Villecco.

“At age 3, a child should be able to calm down within 10 minutes after a parent or caregiver leaves them,” she explained. “If a child is dropped off at day care or at school, it’s normal if they get upset. But after they get comfortable being in school, the time that they get upset should decrease significantly over time.”

Other atypical aspects of social-emotional development include a young child who doesn’t join other children for play and intentionally isolates.

“When we’re talking about being in the pandemic, some children haven’t had any socialization,” Villecco noted. “Some children are the only child within their home and have their parents to play with and are not around children, so when they are given the opportunity to socialize with children, they’re hesitant. They’re not really sure what to do and they need their parents to guide them.”

After Watkins and Bellocchio discussed the social development and atypical qualities of kids 6 through 8, Corcoran and Bigley focused on those in the elementary-age range.

“For fourth through sixth grade students, what is fair or equal is important, and some children may try to get even and become verbally or physically aggressive,” Corcoran said. “What is fair to them is really important.”

The full recording of the presentation can be found at mantuaschools.com.

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