Category Archives: Counseling

Pros and Cons of Video Games for Kids with ADHD

Today’s tweens and teens spend a lot of their free time playing video games. Are you concerned by this? Are video games good or bad for kids?

You be interested in watching this video featuring Jodi Gold, M.D. She is a board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrist and author of Screen-Smart Parenting: How to Find Balance and Benefit in Your Child’s Use of Social Media, Apps, and Digital Devices, on the benefits and drawbacks of video games.

School Bullying Can Leave Lifelong Scars

As a society, we are more aware of bullying than ever. We hear about bullying regularly in social media outlets and on the news. But how really damaging is bullying? Here’s a few statistics.

According to a 2015 report from the U.S. Department of Education, when students are bullied as children, the emotional damage doesn’t just go away—it leaves an impact that can last decades.  In fact, about one in five students, or an estimated 5.4 million students ages 12 to 18 have been reported being bullied and 1.7 million experienced cyberbullying in 2013.  Also, for lesbian, gay, and bisexual students, the bullying rate is even higher, nearly 34 percent offline and 28 percent online, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2016.

Just note, at Choices Charter School, bullying is not acceptable. Know that you can count on us to take care of your student.

Read more about bullying:


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Back to School stress? Here’s some tips.

Back to school is a period of stress for students but also for parents. How to ensure that this period goes smoothly? Here’s a few simple tips that will help you prepare for the return. These will help defuse the stress at this time of great change often tinged with anxiety for students and their parents. Avert a disaster by anticipating and preparing now, before the end of summer.

To ensure that your children are not too disturbed and tired when the time comes, it is a good practice to help them achieve a rhythm with their sleep at least a few days before schools starts. If you are able to change the schedule a week ahead, this allows your children to be ready for the change of pace of school. The first week of “Back to school” will not be experienced as too brutal.

It is also essential to talk with student to prepare psychologically for this autumn. If possible, start introducing back into your conversations, subjects related to school materials and supplies as well as clothing choices. If budget permits, go shopping with the student for these.

If your child is changing schools, it is important to become familiar with the new school by visiting the premises in advance. This allows the student to visualize and project themselves mentally in at the school. This in turn will reduces their anxiety. The new school will no longer be unknown.

If despite this, your student still shows signs of anxiety, it is essential to calmly listen and reassure. We’ll be right here to help them along.

Welcome back!

Introduction to Growth Mind Set starts 6/13!

This summer our counselor, Martine Cermak and counseling intern, Jade Owen, will be running a group for middle school students current 6th, 7th and 8th graders at Choices.  The group will be an introduction to growth mindset, the concept of changing the way students feel about their mistakes and failures and how to grow and learn from them.  Students will also learn to be more motivated and gain resiliency techniques for bouncing back and overcoming obstacles they face in school and life.  Students will learn about “famous failures” those who have succeeded greatly and are famous, despite their failures.  Sessions will be engaging, include icebreakers, games, lessons, discussions and reflection promoting growth and tools for success.  Sessions will be Mondays and Wednesdays from 10-11am for five weeks beginning Monday 6/13 at Choices Charter School.

If you have any questions please feel free to send me an email:

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Family Tip: Help a frustrated student

“I hate school!” “Math stinks!” “I’m dumb!” Statements like these are often signs of a child who’s frustrated with schoolwork.

When kids get frustrated, they often:

  • Refuse to continue working on something.
  • Quit what they’re working on and go on to something else.
  • Refuse to talk about why.
  • Make statements of disgust about their own performance skills.
  • Put the teacher and school down.

To help a frustrated child, share a story of how you struggled with something when you were young. Explain how you worked through it. Then gently encourage your child to try again. Give some hints to help your child solve the problem.

Each solution your child reaches will give him more self-confidence to try and succeed the next time. If frustration continues, talk with the teacher. Discuss what help with homework might be available.

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Encourage your teen to get eight hours of sleep a night

Did you know your teen may actually need more sleep now than he did a year or two ago? But teens are more likely to get less sleep, not more, than they did when they were younger.

Most teens do best on at least eight hours of sleep. But schoolwork and social life mean that too often, they get six hours of sleep or fewer. This usually happens on school nights when they need sleep the most!

Tired teens may have less interest in school. They may be moody and depressed. They may fall asleep at the wrong times, such as in school.

Tired teens may also try to “catch up” on sleep during the weekends. This is difficult on their bodies and may negatively affect the schedule of everyone else in their households.

To keep distractions to a minimum and help your teen get the sleep he needs to do his best in school, establish family “quiet times” after a certain hour. The only reason for your teen to be awake during these times is schoolwork.