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- If your children do get pocket money, give them all your small coins and let them do the adding up to the amount they get. Works well even for kids who don't like numeracy
- When children are revising for exams, feed them lots of snacks, brain-work makes them hungry.
- When reading Classics, remember they are old threads and you do not need to hang off the edge of your seat or cancel plans to find out what happened.
- I'm not big on computer games, but to get my son to walk faster on way to school, we pretend we are Sonic and his friends hurtling along the pavement.
- Put alphabet stickers around the edge of your computer. Your children can gain valuable literacy skills while watching you Mumsnet.
- Make teaching road safety fun by baking traffic light biscuits or making them out of playdough and talking about what the different colours mean.
- Buy enough polo shirts for 10 days at school, then you're not always rushing to get them washed in time for school.
- Help your secondary-school-starting child organise homework by getting him or her some office in-trays: one stack for work in progress (ahem), and one for work completed and ready to hand in.
- Time for your kids to play that fun end-of-summer game called Hunt The School Stuff.
- If your children are reluctant read their school reading books motivate them with rewards. We put a marble in a jam jar for every book read and when the jar is full they can have a treat of their choice.
- Our toddler likes numbers and letters at the moment so we have started watching Countdown in the afternoon, which gives me a break from CBeebies, and gives us a new game to play in the bath as well!
- Deal with educational establishment related admin immediately it is received. Do not let it mount up to be dealt with on Sunday night - the writing of mutiple cheques and filling in upteen forms is the guaranteed way to end the weekend feeling grumpy
- If your child is nervous about starting school and being separated from you (particularly if they have additional needs), why not buy a picture keyring with your family photo in and attach to their coat or bookbag.
You could also put a drop of your perfume on to their coat or jumper so that you are always close.
- Using letters of the alphabet (be them foam, bricks, cards) copy when the programme Countdown is on. Ideal for rainy days and helps learn letters, vowels, consonants and word building
- when teaching your toddler to speak,try emphasising the first letter or syllable
of the word you want them to learn.
- Always tell them to do homework as soon as they get in from school and have had something to eat. They can concentrate better and this leaves the evening free for family life.
- Put a sign with your child's name on their door and read it out to them every time they enter the room. They will learn their name and it makes it so much easier to get the right peg at nursery as a result!
- Buy a wallchart with body parts named on it for your toddler and encourage your child to learn them - it's a lot easier to identify the cause of malaise if they can actually say 'I have a sore elbow' or point on the poster to where it hurts.
- Pat down your primary-school child when they come out of class. So much easier to give the teacher's mobile phone back at the school gate than have to answer it later when she rings to find where it got to.
- If your child always answers,'Fine' to the question,'How was your day at school?' try asking them to tell you what the best and worst bit of the day was - you'll find out much more.
- On your way to school or nursery, ask your child to read the door numbers and letters on street signs. Not only helps them with their numbers/letters but also they forget to moan about the walk to/from school.
- Rather than keep every single picture and painting they've done, take a photo of most of them instead. You can always make an album or scrapbook of the (much smaller) photos.
- My son loves scribbling on Post It notes, transforming them into tickets or price tags, so I always keep some packs handy. A fun, non-messy, make-believe game and writing practice all in one!
- Don't be afraid to stray from the written text in your child's story books. Point out bits of picture to talk about. Little ones love to correct you if you 'tell the story wrong'.
- If given the chance, try to offer to help out at school, it gives you a really good insight to your child's day and the way school works.
- To make school mornings go more smoothly, have a 'tomorrow drawer'. The evening before, get your children to put anything they need to take in the tomorrow drawer ready for the morning.
- Stick a timetable near the front door so everyone can check they have packed everything before they leave for school.
- Make sure your child is not in pyjamas when they do their homework - clothes set the mood!
- Teach your teen to be complimentary to teachers. It's amazing how a simple thanks for the lesson, miss can make a teacher look more favourably on your child.
- Struggling with music practice? Then don't make them put the instrument away! No matter how simple it may be to get out (ie only 1 zip) children will practise more if they can just pick it up and play.
- Avoid arranging too many after school activities when your child starts reception - they WILL be tired, they WILL be grumpy and they will not cope with too many activities for the first couple of months or so at least.
- Write your child's name up the inside of a sleeve or down a trouser leg - this way is there's any dispute at school over lost property (name-tag mysteriously missing etc) you can still prove the item's yours ;-)
- For a cheap Teachers Present, scan and print off a copy of the class photo and stick it onto the front of a hardback notepad with sticky back plastic. (Tas1)
- Counting and climbing: every time your toddler climbs up and down the stairs, count each step as you go. If they're an active toddler they'll learn to count in a matter of days!
- Child starting school for the first time? Take a snack to give them as soon as they come out. They are usually tired, hungry and emotional which can lead to grumpiness. A snack helps.
- New school starter present..make them a door hanger with their name and a picture of them in their school uniform in hama beads, all stuck on painted wood.
- When teaching your pre schooler to learn letters or numbers - make it into a game. Get a chalk board and pretend to be playing teachers. Write the letter or number on the board, then get your child to copy over it in a different colour. Praise them once they have finished. Get them to become the teacher and you copy their letter. They soon learn fast.
- To help young children learn their colours put plastic toys in the bath. One night red toys, one night blue toys, one night green toys etc. A child then learns that several shades of red are still red etc. The next stage is then to use 2 colours in the bath & then 3 colours
- Do not badger your DC's teacher about homework - save their goodwill for when you really need it - a bullying incident or a serious misunderstanding maybe. What is it they say - don't stress the small stuff.
- When you push your child on the swings count each time you push, they will soon count with you and they start to see counting as fun! My son and I try to count a few more every time we go, we're now up to about 35 and getting better everyday.
- To save time and money use a permanent marker in your kids clothes instead of labels
- When spring cleaning and sorting out children's old toys , get the kids to pick out the toys that are still perfect and go with take them to the local hospital. It does the hospital good and helps for your children to see how lucky they are.
- To get your older kids thinking about how politics will eventually affect them, grab any canvassers who doorstep/ring you and ask if the candidate is actually accompanying them (you can apparently ask them to pop into your living room for a chat/grilling) and get your older kid/teen/student to put them on the spot about a local/national issue that's bugging them. We asked about the drag of school transport.
- Set your child a reading challenge during the holidays with a treat for each book read.
- Read your children a short story each night to encourage them to learn from books and enjoy them.
- Once the kids know the alphabet, introduce them to Going on a picnic and I'm taking an Apple... Next person repeats what was said previously and adds another item with next letter of alphabet and so on. I played this as a kid and was surprised how much mine enjoy it. They create their own places, e.g. beach and can only take things you'd want at beach and so on.
- To encourage your KS1 children to write buy them some post it notes -they love writing little notes and labels on them and sticking them around.
- A brilliant exercise for writing is to let your DC decide what the breakfast menu is. My DS writes a weekly breakfast menu and I was very surprised the dishes he wanted. DD decorates the menu.
They work together, eat better as they feel in charge and DS gets to practise his writing!
- Instead of asking your children what they did at school, ask them to name three good things and one not-so-good-thing from that day. You are more likely to get an answer other than 'can't remember.'
- If your child has to go through some sort of assessment process for private primary-school entrance, tell them to draw ears on their pictures, and teach them to count up to ten in another language. Both of these count for a lot more than they should...
- Buy the school uniform you need now. Do NOT leave it till the last week of the school hols, when the shops will be full of harassed parents and moaning children - but no uniform at all.
- It does not matter how you learn. How you learn has nothing to do with how brilliant you are, how inventive you are, how creative you are.
- Count out loud as you go up and downstairs with your toddler. It's a great way to help them learn numbers and counting.
- Conquer times tables by printing off (and there are plenty of free sites) dot-to-dot puzzles with the numbers going up in whatever number your child is learning. It puts a fun aspect into quite a tedious task.
- If your child is anxious about school or preschool etc, give them something of yours to keep in their pocket as a reminder you are not far away.
- Cover a matchbox in pretty paper and when your child is learning to read, fill it with 10 words to learn and change them when they have learnt them.
- Empty your child's school bag into a homework drawer - it means you always know where they are and know what needs doing.
- Encourage a child in the early days of reading by putting subtitles on screen when they're watching children's TV.
- Let your older primary school child choose a lovely ring binder folder to keep homework in, it really helps to encourage them to want to do it!
- To encourage your children to become writers get them involved in the writing of the shopping list or leaving a message for daddy etc - that way they can see writing has a purpose.
- To help learn spellings put cards with the words written on them on every stair step, and every time you go upstairs spell the word out loud. It works with times tables too.
- When your local library sells off old stock, buy their children's reference books - they're ridiculously cheap, yet high quality. Great for reference or cut up for school projects.
- Help teach your kids to count by always counting stairs and steps together.
- Help your child learn the months of the year in a fun way by printing off each month with an image to match, eg a snowflake for January and a big red heart for February.
- For children learning to read and write, buy an address book that they can use as a 'Spelling Book'.
- Encourage youngsters to read by reading everything: not just books but comics, letters, instruction manuals, catalogues and cereal packets.
- Always ask open questions. Rather than asking Did you have a good day at school? Ask What did you do at school today? This gets your child to reveal their day and start a more involved conversation.
- When out with your toddler, get them to practice colour recognition by naming the colour of passing cars. Works especially well with boys.
- Take a small snack and a drink for young children when you pick them up from school. They are usually hungry and thirsty when they come out of school and it stops them being grumpy!
- If your child is learning to read, don't just stick to books, teach them to read everything - from magazines and comics to cereal packets, road signs and adverts. Variety always keeps them interested.
- If your child is learning to read, try them with the Dr Seuss book, Hop on Pop. My son was not interested in the books he got from school, but loves reading this.
- Stick the letters of your child's name on the ceiling above their bed. When they go to bed they will commit the last thing they saw to memory much quicker. When they are older this is a good way to reinforce spellings.
- If your child is learning to read but reluctant to sit down and read a book with you, try other reading matter - my son is happy to look at words in catalogues, cereal packets and comics for example.
- I taught my son his colours by getting him to help me sort out the washing. He now insists this is one of his jobs. So even the most tedious chores can be used for learning and can become fun.
- If you want to improve your child's speech, then join the library. Reading books to your child is an excellent way of improving their speech, and different books every week will make it more interesting for them.
- Don't worry too much about your toddler's number and letter recognition and understanding unless they show a genine interest. School are now so obsessed with numeracy and literacy because the curriculum is becoming so narrow. You'll help your child a lot more if you teach them about the world around them or anything you have an interst in yourself.
- Never miss an opportunity to talk with your kids. Get them to describe, remember, count, invent etc. It's entertaining, easy, free and develops no end of skills at the same time as letting them know how important they are. This is one for any situation, car, shop, rain or shine. Obvious but easy to forget.
- Rather than keeping books in a box or out of reach on a shelf, give your child their own shelf at floor level. We built two little single-storey 'bookshelves' and my two year old loves being able to choose her own books. We even hope to train her one day to put the books away again!
- As soon as they can talk, start teaching your child their name and address. It makes them feel important and gives you some sense of security.
- The best way to help a child to learn language is to talk about the word you wish them to learn and not just say the word itself. This contextual learing has been shown to increase vocabulary significantly.
- Give even small babies books to look at. We started our son with Mr men books at 12 weeks old & he has retained an interest in books - he's now 6 & can read everything.