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  • Writer's pictureApril Avey Trabucco

Counselor's Corner: Tips from Bainbridge Teachers. Part 2 - Avoiding Meltdowns

Once a month, Raising Resilience features a post from a local therapist or educator. This week's post is part 2 of our interview with Bainbridge Island teachers, elementary through high school.



GRADES K-4 Janette Dodge, Counselor: Ordway Elementary

  • Remember that your student’s education is a collaboration between you and your child’s educational team. Bainbridge is lucky to have a variety of support services that include counselor’s, support teachers, and main teachers.

  • Watch your child’s behavior and if you feel that there is a pattern out of the ordinary contact your child’s team.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for accommodations.

GRADES 5-6 Karen Knezevich, Special Educations 5th & 6th: Sakai Intermediate

  • Is homework taking longer than it should? Teachers will usually give you an estimate of how much time kids should be spending on homework each night.

  • Is it too hard, is it a focus issue, are other problems interfering?

  • Listen to what your child says – and doesn’t say – about school, work, or friends. If you suspect there is a concern, address it early.

GRADES 7-8 Keri Schmit, 8th Grade Language Arts and Social Studies: Woodward Middle School

  • You want your child to care about school and grades, but not too much. I would watch out for kids obsessively checking grades on Skyward, or freaking out any time they earn something less than an A.

  • It’s important that kids have balance in their lives. Academics are important, but they need to have time for activities, friends, and unstructured downtime just to chill.

GRADES 9-12 D'Arcy Clements, Mathematics (Precalculus, Geometry): Bainbridge High School

  • Is your child over-scheduled? Asses if they have enough time to balance school and activities.

  • Perfectionism can prevent kids from finishing, or even starting, their work – especially in mathematics. To help them avoid the perfectionist trap, encourage them to just start. Most kids who are able to start, even if they aren’t sure of what they’re doing, will finish.


GRADES K-4 Ms. Dodge

  • At the elementary school level your child should be able to tell you something they enjoy about school. It might not be everything, but at least a couple of subjects.

  • Last year the Ordway staff really focused on a sense of belonging and community. We want to make sure all students feel like they belong in our community.

GRADES 5-6 Ms. Knezevich

  • Patterns are so important. Families are busy these days, but it’s critical to stay watchful. How does your child interact with their friends or sports teammates? Do they seem happy and like themselves? Are they trying to fit in with different behavior? If you see a change in the pattern of your child’s interactions and see something that is atypical, be sure to address it early before a negative pattern sets in.

  • *Social media and online gaming are becoming more of a concern each year. I hear about students talking with ‘friends’ who turn out to be older and not well-intended; students who have been diagnosed with a gaming addiction at the age of ten; and students who are able to find material online that they are not ready to deal with emotionally or developmentally. Be watchful, check your child’s online history periodically, and set limits that your family feels are appropriate.

GRADES 7-8 Ms. Schmit

  • While many benefits come from giving students Chromebooks, I worry about students' amount of screen time. Parents need to *be aware of how much screen time kids are getting, through both Chromebooks and their phones. Check what they are doing on their screens. Consider having students charge their Chromebooks and phones at night outside of their bedrooms.

  • Social relationships are often the most important thing to a middle schooler. Parents should know who their child's friends are and watch out for any changes in friendships.

GRADES 9-12 Ms. Clements

  • Tune into your child. When teenagers want to talk, be ready and stay open to what they are saying. Practice active listening to encourage them to open up. Parents are often busy, and we have to train ourselves to stop, tune in, and listen.

*On October 23rd, Raising Resilience is bringing SCREENAGERS Next Chapter: Uncovering Skills for Stress Resilience. Filmmaker, Dr. Delaney Ruston, will be appearing with her brand-new film for a Q&A. Stay tuned for registration details.


GRADES K-4 Ms. Dodge

  • “What did you learn today?” as parents we often want to ask “how did you do” rather than what did you learn.

  • “How is it going?” Even if kids just say fine over and over, they are still waiting for you to ask the question and notice when you don’t.

GRADES 5-6 Ms. Knezevich

  • “What made you happy today?” This gives your child an opportunity to share positive things.

  • “If you could change one thing at school, what would it be?” This allows your child to process any problems gives you time to consider if they can handle it themselves.

  • “What can I keep doing or do differently that you would find helpful?” This will strengthen your relationship with your child by reaffirming a trusting, positive connection.

GRADES 7-8 Ms. Schmit

  • “What book are you presently reading? What is it about?” Make sure they are always reading something!

  • “What fun thing can we do together?” Make an effort to do fun things together regularly.

  • "What can I do to help you feel supported?"

GRADES 9-12 Ms. Clements

  • “What are the big things being talked about at school?”

  • “What’s something thing adults don’t get about teenagers?”

  • “What can I do to help you feel more supported?”


GRADES K-4 Ms. Dodge

  • My dad once told me that parenting was the hardest job you are going to love. There is no handbook, things constantly change, and just when you think things are going smoothly something else comes up.

  • Remember to rely on other parents, mentors and relatives to help you through the different stages. Admitting that parenting is hard is not admitting that you are a failure. We have a great community with many great resources to help guide and support.

GRADES 5-6 Ms. Knezevich

  • Trust your heart. You love your child more than anyone.

  • No matter what successes or challenges the year holds, your child’s greatest asset is you.

  • Celebrate the good moments, big and small, and know that you are a big source of their strength when you hit a bump in the road.

GRADES 7-8 Ms. Schmit

  • Parenting, like teaching, is really tough! It is easy for us to focus on all the things we are doing wrong. Try to remember all the things you are doing right as a parent, and all the great qualities of your kids.

GRADES 9-12 Ms. Clements

  • Failure is OK. Your kids might make mistakes, but they will learn from them and they can overcome them. They will go to college.

From Raising Resilience to our parenting community - enjoy the holiday weekend

and we wish you a smooth back-to-school transition!

#bainbridgeislandparents #raisingresilience

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