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How to Beat the Back-to-School/Winter Blues

3Vacation is over, and thousands of boots are back on the schoolyard grounds. Yet, while many parents may be (quietly) letting out a sigh of relief, not every child is as excited about the return to the academic routine. So, how can we change that?

The key to unlocking a change in attitude is a two-step process. First, if you don’t already know why, is to understand what is causing your child’s reluctance to return. The second is to find the strength that lies within your child – their unique gift – and build that up so it becomes their new focus. It is the second step that is the most important. I’m going to say it again, because it may sound simple, but to put this in action is actually much harder for parents to do than most people think.

The most important thing you can do to help your child develop a more positive attitude towards school is to find their unique strength, and focus on building that strength, on nurturing it, so it becomes the most important thing in their life.

When you do this, you will see a change in your child’s whole outlook – on school and on life.

I’m not discounting the importance of the first step – why is your child not wanting to go to school? What is it that they are finding difficult? This is certainly important to identify. If it is difficulty understanding certain subjects, then they will need extra help, either from the teacher, from you at home, from a tutor, or some combination of all three. If it is bullying, then that needs to be dealt with.

Whatever the cause, identifying it and coming up with a plan of action to deal with it will give you and your child some comfort in knowing that progress is happening. However, the focus should not be stronger on fixing this problem than it is on finding and building their strength. This seems counter-intuitive, but let me give you a quick example of why it works.

Let’s say that your child is having difficulty with math. And let’s say that they love spending time on the computer. How can you harness this love of technology in a positive way? There are many online tools that teach important skills – why not get your child using one of those tools? Would they like to learn to program? What about learning math concepts through playing an online game? There are many websites that offer skills practice in1 different subjects through games. (In fact, this approach to learning is proving to be so effective with students, that it is being incorporated into delivering mainstream curriculum in many school boards across North America, including Boards of Education in Ontario.) If they start playing one of those online games to develop and practice their math skills, they are now marrying the thing that they love and are good at – computer skills – with the area that needs improvement – math. It sounds so simple – and it is! And it works! All of a sudden, math can be seen in a more positive light, and can be associated with positive experiences.

2At kids n bricks™, they offer skills development in two of these very popular tools – Minecraft Education and LEGO® Robotics. Minecraft Education is based on the highly popular game that has swept the world – with a very important twist: the Education application allows us to use the Minecraft platform to effectively teach many specific technological skills, and can be used to help in various subject areas, like math! LEGO® Robotics gives kids a dual opportunity – to learn the different engineering skills that are used in building robots, and to learn coding through programming the robots to complete different tasks.

The return to school can be viewed with a positive outlook. By supporting and encouraging your child to do the thing they love, you will increase their confidence and their engagement in learning, and you will let them know, in a very concrete way, that you are solidly on their team.

06And if your child’s strength and interest lies in computers, technology, and LEGO®, they can certainly help them build their skills in these areas to achieve their success!

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