• TCS Parent Connect

Are they listening?

“Are you listening?!”

“Can you hear me?”


Earbuds in. Head nodding. Is that head nod a yes to me or to the pulsing beat coming through the airpods? AAARGH!

Throughout her years working in schools, TCS Middle School Counselor, Melanie Gallagher, always noticed that every student she encountered seemed to have a pair of earbuds in. And they were listening….intently. She decided to turn what might seem like a frustration into an inspiration. “I thought, if they are going to listen to something, let’s give them something short and sweet that breathes life into them.” And the “Spilling the Tea with Ms. G” podcast was born!

Each week, Ms. Gallagher tackles topics from bullying to anxiety to back to school tips. While the podcast was originally designed to speak to the middle school crowd, parents of every age student can benefit from the advice and insight shared by Ms. Gallagher. The podcast is the perfect length for a short car ride to school or an after school activity. Perfect for students, parents, or both together. On one of her recent podcasts, she introduces The Conservatory School Health and Wellness team and give parents and students some tips for leaning into a positive mindset. Some of the tools our wellness team suggest to cultivate an attitude of optimism start with identifying negative thought patterns and understanding how to redirect them:

1. Write the thought down. Ms. Gallagher is a big fan of journaling. Putting the negative thought down on paper can help us define a starting point for our journey to positivity. An old composition book, a sketchpad, or a pile of post-it notes can all serve as a journal for students thoughts and feelings.

2. Begin to challenge the thought. YOU HAVE THE CHOICE. You can change the negative thought. As parents, we can help give our kids the words to reframe those thoughts. Students can transform “I can’t do that” into “I can’t do that YET.” Dr. Lexande shares that she has been learning the violin for two years, and she “hasn’t mastered it YET” but she’s confident that she is “going to get there one day!”

3. Practice the new thought. If you want to sink free throws, you have to practice. If you want to master the violin, you have to pick up the bow--A LOT. If you want to have a positive mindset, you have to practice challenging your negative thoughts. Once you have named the negative thought and start to push back on it, you can reframe it with the right words and some practice. For example:

“I’m not good at that.” BECOMES “What am I missing?”

“I give up.” BECOMES “I’ll try something new.”

“That’s too hard.” BECOMES “That might take some time.”

The Conservatory School Wellness team is here with open doors and resources to help our students build the positive mindsets that will help them be successful in school and beyond. They encourage students to surround themselves with positive people, because a good attitude is contagious. “Color, beauty, music in the hallway” according to Ms. Gallagher, all of it contributes to a positive attitude. One last piece of advice for students--write a positive affirmation EVERY DAY (you might run out of post-it notes, but it is well worth it!). For parents: Take time to write an affirmation for your child each day. Leave a note in a lunchbox, pack a note in the backpack, leave a letter tucked in a favorite book or on the mirror. Let them know that you love how brave they were by making a new friend on the playground, or how excited you are that they found a book they like to read, or even how proud you are that they helped with their brother or sister at home. Choose a permanent journal to jot down what you notice about your child--their unique skills, their special role in the family, the way they make you smile or laugh. What a special gift to have a written reminder that tells your child I SEE YOU and YOU MATTER.

So, the earbuds are still in (that’s a topic for another post!).

And their heads are still nodding.

But, they ARE listening. And WE (all of us together) are the music and the rhythm and the beat with the power to help them rise.

Spilling the Tea with Ms. G Positive Mindset podcast:


Be sure to check out other "Spilling the Tea with Ms. G" podcasts for more great insight.


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