Tips from the Counseling Office

Helping Your Child Get Organized

With more teachers, more classes, more homework and more activities, middle school students need to be organized in order to keep up with everything.  This is an area in which parents can really make a difference!

Use of a Daily Planner- If your child does not already have one, we will give them one!  Encourage your child to take his/her planner to every class to record assignments, upcoming tests/quizzes and anything else he/she needs to remember.

Three-Ring Binder and Folders- Using a 3-ring binder with a different colored folder for each class is a great way to keep notes, homework and returned assignments/tests organized.

Create a Home File- Have a place at home to store anything your child wants to keep or may need for later.  Graded assignments/tests/quizzes/reports, etc. may help with preparation for future tests.

Collect Phone Numbers- Make sure your child has a phone number for at least one other student in each class.  That way, if your child is absent or has a question, he/she will have someone to call.

Backpack/Locker- Encourage your child to clean out his/her backpack and locker regularly. Remind him/her that all papers should be put in a notebook or folder- never stuck loose in a book, locker or backpack.

Check PowerSchool Together- Get into the habit of reviewing your child’s grades, missing assignments and attendance together at least once per week. 


Stress management tips for the Holidays

This time of year can be filled with many exciting events, gatherings and of course a long break from school. Since it is a busy time, it can also be stressful and it’s important to practice good self-care. The following ten tips may help you manage your stress during this busy season:

1. Try and get some sort of exercise each day

2. Get enough sleep each night

3. Eat healthy foods, including breakfast

4. Talk about your problems with others

5. Keep a journal to vent about situations and feelings

6. Break large tasks into smaller, more manageable steps

7. Practice taking slow, deep breaths from your stomach

8. Avoid negativity as much as possible

9. Don’t commit to more things than you can handle

10. Think positive thoughts


s your child over-scheduled?  Effective time management is a skill that should be developed during the middle school years.  These children are experiencing an increase in academic demands (more homework), and many are also involved in extracurricular activities that require a significant amount of their time and energy.  Additionally, middle school students are forced to begin their day very early in the morning, which is a challenge for many.   Lack of sleep is a true concern; students who are tired are not able to learn as well as those who get adequate sleep (more on this in a future article).  It is important to help your child develop the skill of planning and managing their time so they can make the most of their opportunities both in and out of school.   We encourage you to read this article on Time Management, ( written by therapist and retired school counselor, Judy Lipson.



Grieving During the Holidays: The holidays can be an especially difficult time for children coping with the death of a family member or other loved one.  Following are some suggestions from Ele’s Place, a healing center for grieving children and teens in Lansing, to help you and your child:

·       Light a candle to remember the person

·       During family gatherings, talk about memories of the person who died

·       Include a favorite food of the person who died as part of the holiday meal

·       Know that it’s okay to laugh and have fun

·       Make an ornament or decoration for the person who died- or one that reminds you of that person


BULLYING- Both school counselors are presenting a lesson on bullying this month to all 7th and 8th graders in their math classes.  Through a video and discussion, we are addressing the following subtopics: 1) The 4 main categories of bullying: physical, verbal, relational and cyber bullying; 2) Reasons why bullies become bullies; 3) Potential long-term consequences for both targets and bullies; 4) how targets feel; 5) what students should do if they are bullied; 6) what students should do if they witness bullying events in person or via technology.  We strongly encourage students to talk with a trusted adult if a bully is targeting them.  However, at this age, targets are often reluctant to come forward and report that they are being bullied.  We encourage you to have a conversation with your child about his/her experiences at school related to bullying.  If he/she is concerned about him/herself or another student, please contact our Counseling Office and ask to speak to one of the counselors. 



INSTAGRAM: What parents need to know!

Social media usage is exploding among the middle school population, and the trends change so quickly that it’s often difficult for parents to keep up.  When it first started in 2010, Instagram was simply a photo-sharing program.  Since Facebook took over Instagram in 2012, it’s popularity has continued to grow among our youth. 

 Most students at Hayes Middle School know what Instagram is and use it on their phones or i-Pods to share photos with friends.  It is available for anyone 13 years and up, and kids don’t need to secure parent permission to create an account.  Like anything else, Instagram has a dark side, of which too many parents are unaware!


We HIGHLY encourage ALL parents to read the full article, “Instagram and Kids: A Parent’s Guide to Privacy and Safety”, from the website,

There is simply too much important information to summarize in this small section of the newsletter.  We hope the information in the article will help parents keep their kids safe and aware when they are online!




MSTEP TIPS FOR PARENTS- All 7th and 8th grade students will be taking MEAP tests over the next two weeks!  To best prepare your child for standardized testing, we offer the following suggestions:

ü  Try to have your child go to bed 15-30 minutes earlier than usual starting 2 nights before test day.  Research now shows we sometimes don’t feel the effects of lack of sleep from one night until two days later!

ü  Consider having your child take a shower the morning of a test day to help him/her wake up.

ü  Have your child dress in layers to adjust for a cold or warm testing room.

ü  Prepare a well-balanced breakfast for your child that includes some form of protein so they don’t get hungry during the test.

ü  Make sure your child gets to the bus stop or school early so he/she is not late.

ü  Encourage your child to think positively about the test; negative thoughts are anxiety inducing, and thus counterproductive.

ü  Encourage your child to take their time on the test, and not worry about how fast or slow other students finish the test.

ü  Encourage your child to put forth their best effort. 


Check grades with your student on a regular basis!

 Information was sent home recently regarding checking grades on PowerSchool.  We recommend creating a weekly routine with your student to check grades, attendance and missing assignments. Starting this routine early in the school year will show your child that you are involved in his/her schooling, help prevent him/her from getting behind and increase communication with teachers. We also encourage students to check their grades on their own at least once a week. To get started here is the link to Parent Portal on PowerSchool: If you did not receive your username and password, please call the main office at 925-5680.


Keep your child’s cell phone in your bedroom at night!

According to Psychologist Suzanne Phillips, in an article posted on, 4 out of 5 teens sleep with their phone on or near their bed.  Some use it as their alarm clock, but studies show most teens leave their phone on all night to stay connected to their peers.  According to Phillips, “teens in focus groups report they sleep with a phone under the pillow in case someone contacts them.  Many teens report stories of friends getting insulted, angry or upset if a text message or phone call is not responded to immediately.”  One of the major problems with this, according to Phillips, is when a teen’s natural sleep pattern is disturbed; the loss of REM or intense sleep can result in increased irritability, anxiety and depression, as well as reduced concentration and creativity.  So to promote positive mental and physical health, we recommend that parents buy inexpensive, “old school” alarm clocks for their kids, and store all the household cell phones in their bedroom at night.  To read the full article click HERE.