Think your child may need some extra support as they navigate school life? Many international schools in Singapore have programmes and therapies that support the mental health of students and youths who are facing challenges, be they learning difficulties, emotional issues, special needs or others. Find out more about what’s available, from learning support to kids’ therapy and counselling in Singapore schools.
Counselling in Singapore Integrated International School
When engaging with the mental health of students, Integrated International School (IIS) utilises its trademarked Collaborative Teaching/Parenting Approach (CTA/CPA). Parenting can be challenging, but using IIS’s CPA can make it easier by enhancing communication, compromise, collaboration and promoting inclusivity.
Tips for parents from IIS
#1 Identify and acknowledge everyone’s feelings
The CPA ensures that everyone’s feelings are expressed and acknowledged. Often, parents only focus on their own feelings – “Stop yelling, I’m getting really angry” – or only on their child’s feelings – “You’re frustrated that we have to leave the playground now”. This is particularly the case in tense situations like a child’s temper tantrum or defiance.
However, emphasising only one person’s feelings can lead to long-term issues in how our children handle relationships. If parents solely focus on their own feelings, children may avoid expressing their feelings openly due to potential negative reactions. Conversely, if parents solely focus on the child’s feelings, it may result in the child growing up dependent on others to soothe them instead of learning self-soothing strategies. By addressing everyone’s feelings, we demonstrate that all individuals, regardless of age, have emotions and needs that require attention and are valid. This approach builds trust, fosters open communication and promotes problem-solving, boosting mental health in youths.
#2 Collaborate by finding options that work for everyone
Involve your children by asking for their opinions, ideas and suggestions. Share your own as well. Then, together, decide on an option that both parties can accept. Finally, express gratitude to your child for approaching you and working together to find a solution that validates everyone involved.
– Dr Vanessa von Auer, Clinical Psychologist
Australian International School
AIS makes the academic well-being of students an absolute priority; the school strives to ensure that the mental health of students and families receives the best care and up-to-date advice from their school counsellor and wellness team.
With the unprecedented change resulting from the COVID-19 situation, the school is using C.A.R.E.S. (Connection, Attitude, Relationships, Engagement, Safety). It’s a way for the school community to identify, monitor and address the social and mental health of students through a regular self-reflection and reporting tool. This simple survey is delivered twice a term through their pastoral programme and is designed to capture a snapshot of how students are feeling at a given point in time. This data is used to have informed conversations about academic well-being with students, teachers and families.
Tips for parents from AIS on the mental health of youths
#1 Minimise screen time
Screen time can be part of a healthy lifestyle for teenagers when it’s balanced with other activities that are good for the mental health issues in youths. Physical activity keeps teenage bodies and minds fit and healthy. Teenagers need at least one hour of moderate exercise every day; this needs to be planned to balance it with other activities, including screen time.
#2 Making the most of the time with the family
While there has been no dearth of family time during the pandemic, it’s still important to make the most of it in an intentional and mindful manner! This is the opportunity to get creative with family time and strengthen the bonds or even explore new aspects of relationships. You can always invite family friends in Singapore to join or include the overseas extended family in a game of virtual charades.
– The AIS Wellbeing Team
Nexus International School
Nexus provides learners with a range of counselling support including verbal, non-verbal and expressive therapy for kids with various needs. Learners can turn to a school counsellor for individual or group counselling in Singapore to address specific concerns involving feelings, friendships or family. Specific behaviours such as anger management or engagement in risky behaviour are addressed with behavioural counselling. In cases of a crisis or traumatic event, crisis counselling provides immediate support to the learner.
For learners who may not be able to access in-person counselling services at the Singapore school, there’s the option of online counselling in Singapore. They can also drop into the school’s counselling centre to obtain self-help resources or make enquiries about wellbeing-related topics. Nexus also holds regular workshops for parents and provides wellness tips on a monthly bulletin to support children in their daily development.
Tips for parents from Nexus International School
#1 Help your child to embrace failure as a learning opportunity
Making mistakes is a natural part of growth and that failure can lead to valuable lessons and personal development. Avoid focusing on the outcome and explore areas where solutions or improvements can develop. This mindset cultivates resilience, adaptability and a healthy relationship with success and setbacks.
#2 Encourage autonomy and decision-making with your child
Encourage and allow your child to make decisions and take ownership of their actions. Avoid saying things like “Just do what I say” or “You’re too slow, I’ll do it for you”. Encouraging autonomy allows children to develop critical thinking skills, problem-solving abilities and a sense of responsibility. It also helps foster independence and self-confidence.
– Daniel, Lori, and Zanthe, whole school counsellors