Communication within the school system is crucial. Between parents, educators, and students, communication is sometimes lost. Through learning the importance of mental health and supporting the students struggling, communication will get better. This page is dedicated to helping lay the foundation to proper communication. 

How to Talk to Families

Communication between educators and the families of students is extremely important. Knowing the correct term usage for mental disorders, as well as knowing how to correctly communicate that a student needs additional help goes a long way in showing care. 

Need some tips?

  • Be patient and kind

    • Do not make assumptions about a student without discussing with the family​

    • Use a calm and quiet voice when discussing personal topics with the family 

    • Keep eye contact and use positive reinforcement when listening to the concerns a family may have

  • Don't forget to discuss the positive attributes 

    • Focusing on the negatives of a student will discourage the family​

    • The physical, emotional, and mental well being of the student is the priority, which includes the positives

  • Communicate often and on different platforms

    • Email, phone calls, in-person meetings​

    • Lead and end with good news about the student

    • Listen first to what the family has to say, talk after

  • Ask questions​​

    • Ask what you can do to make things easier​, how you can communicate more effectively

  • Be specific

    • Families will understand more completely when given examples of student behavior​

    • Share your intentions in a specific manner

  • Be sure to thank the parents

    • For their support, their communication, their willingness​

Additional Resources

Tips for Communicating with Families

Classroom Mental Health Tips

Correct Mental Health Terms

How to Talk to Students

When communicating with students, it can be hard to get the point across without one party being upset with the other. Most students are at the vulnerable age where conversations can be taken out of context without fully understanding the meaning behind it. Learning how to effectively communicate with students in a kind, understanding matter will make a mountain of difference.

Here are some tips:

  • Start with the positives

    • Let the student know you appreciate how hard they're working regardless of the situation​

    • Encourage them to continue to rise above

  • Clearly communicate that you are there for them

    • Encourage them to talk one-on-one with either you, their parents, or the counselors​

    • Ask how you can help them, what would make things easier, how to make them feel comfortable

  • Find what motivates them, use it to your advantage

    • Maybe the student likes animals, competitive games, music, etc.​

    • Use interests and assign classwork that involves it

  • One task at a time

    • For students who struggle with multi-tasking, go step by step

    • Assign clear instructions: writing them down, answering questions, communicating

  • Ask questions

    • "How are you feeling today?"

    • "What's on your mind?"

    • "How can I help make this better?"

Additional Resources

How Can We Help Struggling Students?

How to Adapt Your Teaching Skills to Struggling Students

Mental Health: For Educators

Self-Care Tips

Self-care is an extremely important part of life, especially for educators with struggling students. Sometimes knowing there is an external force causing struggle to a student makes life unbearable for the educators. In order to separate school and home, one needs to practice daily self-care. 

  • Know your boundaries

    • What you can handle, what you can't​

    • Clearly communicating those boundaries

  • Find activities that relieve stress 

    • Yoga

    • Volunteering at a local animal shelter

    • Planting a garden

    • Treating yourself to a coffee, shopping spree, spa day

    • Drawing, listening to music, sewing

  • Exercise 

    • 30 minutes a day or more

  • Start everyday with the positives  

    • Write a kindness card for yourself every morning

    • Reflect on things that make you happy

      • Funny videos, cute animal videos​, bloopers from favorite TV shows

    • Read a favorite book

    • Treat yourself to a real, healthy breakfast

Contact Us

PHONE: 515.339.3837

4801 Franklin Ave. 

Des Moines, IA 50310


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