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Building with Blocks

Subject: Kids Games

You can use everyday wooden blocks to help your child learn how to cope with frustration. Work with your child to come up with a block building goal that is appropriate given your child's age.

The goal should be challenging enough that it requires your child to use her skills fully but not so challenging that your child is unable to meet the goal. For example, if your child is 4, you can set the goal of making an 8 block tower; if your child is 6 the goal might be to build a pyramid out of blocks. Help your child get started and then shift into coach mode. When the tower falls or the pyramid collapses, encourage your child to persist despite the setback. You can say things like, "Oh, it fell. My towers fell too when I was your age. Is there a way you can make it sturdier this time?". Help your child to focus on thinking through different strategies they can try to reach their goal.

Also, help your child to understand that feeling frustrated is normal. You can say, "I see you are frustrated that the blocks won't stay just where you put them. I get frustrated too when things don't work exactly like I want them too. When I'm frustrated, I take a deep breath to calm down and then I try to think of another plan to make it work." It's important that you resist the urge to jump in and build the tower or pyramid for your child! If not acting is hard for you, grab your own set of blocks and set yourself a goal too. When your Eiffel Tower falls, model persistence and problem solving for your child.

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