So now that you have decided that your child would benefit from extra support, are you wondering how to explain counseling to your child? For many parents, this thought comes up and they aren’t sure what to say or how to start the conversation. Sometimes it’s easy to forget all about it until the the day of your child’s appointment and you are on your way to see me. I want to help you have a simple and relaxed conversation about counseling and help ease any uneasiness or worry your child may have before they ever arrive at my office. Therapy is a safe and fun place to work on being the best me your child can be. Here are some simple ways to start the conversation with your child about counseling before your first appointment:
- Start with something they already know and understand.
“You know how we go to the doctor when we have a boo boo or you aren’t feeling well. The doctor’s job is to help us feel better”
- Make it less about them and more about you as the parent or your family as a whole.
“So mom/dad want some extra help with learning how to (help us get along better, learn how I can help you feel better, etc)”.
- Refer to me as a “helper”.
“Ms. Cathy is a helper. Her job is to help us learn new ways to (feel better, get along better, have more fun as a family)”.
Tying it all together might sound something like this:
“We have a special appointment today together. You know how we go to the doctor when we have a boo boo or feel sick. The doctor’s job is to help our bodies feel better, right? Our special appointment today is to see a helper named Ms. Cathy. Ms. Cathy’s job is to help with our feelings. How many feelings can you name? (give your child a chance to name feelings and provide lots of praise). I decided that we could use some extra help with our feelings and I am excited to learn some new ways to get along better and help you with your feelings too. How does that sound to you? (give them a chance to share how they are feeling and validate their response). Ms. Cathy wanted me to tell you that we are going to have a lot of fun together and she is excited to meet you”.
The biggest thing to remember is that kids want to know what to expect before it happens. Talk openly and freely about coming in to see me and what our time together might look like. We will talk, we will play games, we will have fun together all while doing the work that is important for your child and your family. Give your child the chance to ask questions and validate their feelings. Likely, they will be nervous and that’s okay 🙂 Feeling nervous about doing new things and meeting new people is normal. If you have any further questions please feel free to email or call me.