Ready to Learn…Every Day (Parent guide)
This is a guide for parents to help their children to get the most out of school. It is based on the latest research about what helps children to succeed at school.
Talking and Listening
- It is really important to talk to your child and listen to them. Finding time for both can be difficult with busy lives!
- Set aside time for talking – without being interrupted by phones, TV, radio, computer, etc.
- Tell them about your day and encourage them to talk about theirs.
- Don’t interrupt your child, be patient and allow them time to speak.
- Ask your child for their opinions and value what they say.
Spending Time Together
- Share books and games in a quiet environment – not in front of the TV.
- Play games together as a family that encourages concentration, such as jigsaws and board games.
- Encourage physical play and exercise by taking a trip to the park or the local leisure centre.
- Give lots of hugs and praise.
- Check your child has their name in everything they bring to school.
- Make sure your child remembers to bring everything they need each day – reading book, PE kit, homework.
- Keep in contact with the school and let them know if you change phone numbers and addresses.
- If you have concerns about your child’s wellbeing, tell the school as soon as possible so they can help to find solutions to any problems.
Working Out a Family Routine
- Children like routines so try to have regular times for going to bed and getting up, mealtimes and family time.
- Make sure they have a healthy breakfast at home.
- Have a regular time for a meal together in the evening.
- Try to make time for homework, reading and talking together and bedtime stories.
Getting Enough Sleep
- Children need sleep to develop, to concentrate in school and to learn well.
- Under fives need up to 15 hours, primary children about 10 hours and even older children still need 9 hours.
- Too many late bedtimes can make it hard for them to learn.
- A good night’s rest will help your child feel happy all day long.
- Agree clear and realistic rules and stick to them.
- Encourage your child to always say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and not to interrupt you or others when you are talking.
- Support school rules and encourage your child to follow these.
- Ask for help if your child’s behaviour is proving difficult at home.
Helping hand: at home
- Help your child to have all the equipment they need for learning
- Ask your child what they have learnt at school and take an interest in these topics
- Allow your child to help you with shopping, cooking and other jobs around the house
- Be patient when your child is helping
- Make time for regular reading with your child including books, magazines, newspapers and online
Helping with homework:
- Provide a quiet place for your child to work
- Help your child to develop a routine and set dedicated time aside
- give encouragement and support to help your child complete their homework
- Help your child learn the basics such as spellings and tables
- Take time to answer your child’s questions and address their concerns
Helping your child to learn in and out of the home:
- Link your child’s learning to family activities:
- Visit a museum or historical site
- Walk in a woodland
- Visit the library and choose a book
- Plan a route using maps, compass or GPS
- Look at the stars at night and find out about the planets
- Plant seeds and watch them grow
- Look for things in your local area that will help your child to learn such as nature reserves and museums
- Spend time playing outside and talk about the world around them
- Get to know what your child is learning and ask the school about it
- Take time to listen to your child and explain things carefully, developing their understanding and vocabulary
Helping hand at school:
- Offer to help out with educational trips, visits and clubs when you can
- Ask your child’s teacher how you can help in class e.g. with reading and practical activities
- Attend as many parents’ meetings as you can, especially ones that are about learning
Helping with communication:
- You and your child’s school both want what is best for them so don’t be afraid to ask questions
- Read the information the school provides – letters, leaflets, emails, texts or online
- Keep the school informed about family changes that might affect your child’s learning, however small
- Respond promptly to school communications and let school know if you change your contact details
Helping with school life:
- Join the PTA and get involved with fundraising to support your child’s school
- Give constructive feedback to your child’s school about what is working well
Get involved every day:
- Discuss your child’s day with them when you see them after school
- Try to have a family meal together as often as possible
- Encourage your child to talk about their interests
- Ask your child about their homework and get involved with it
- Switch off TVs, laptops and other devices well before bedtime
- Discuss and debate issues in the news with your child
- Tell your child you love them every day
- Be a positive role model for your child: don’t shout or swear in front of them, it is rarely effective
- Praise your child’s effort as well as their achievement
- Let your child know it is fine to make mistakes but they must learn from them
- If your child does something wrong, tell them how to do better next time
- When things are difficult help your child to see it as part of life and learning and it happens to all of us
- Teach your child to not give up and to keep trying
- Listen to your child and show them you value their views and opinions
- Help your child to understand about a balanced diet and the importance of eating fruit and vegetables to keep them fit and healthy
- Encourage your child to try a variety of foods and dishes
- Let your child help when you bake and prepare meals; it will help them understand about food
Exercise and activity
- Support your child to exercise vigorously for at least 30 minutes per day
- Encourage your child to have at least one hobby involving exercise
- Get out and about as a family eg games in the park, bike rides
- Book regular appointments with the optician and dentist, as well as frequent health checks and immunisations
- Exposure to cigarette smoke is damaging to your child’s health; think before lighting up in front of them
- Talk to your child about personal hygiene, such as showering regularly, brushing teeth, washing hands, having clean PE kit
- Celebrate your child’s individuality and talents
- Sit down and talk to them about valuing themselves
- Help them set realistic goals
- Find out what they really enjoy and find interesting and look for opportunities to further explore them
- If you are concerned ask them directly if they are struggling with anything at school. We all want to help them
Praise and reward
- Praise your child immediately, it is then meaningful
- Use positive words…”wonderful” “great” “proud” “really pleased”
- Notice the little things they do well or without prompting and praise them for it
- The reward of parental attention and approval can mean more to a child than material goods-an enthusiastic “well done” or a hug
- Notice and remark on those little things that children do to help themselves and others
- We want to work together with you to make sure your child feels happy, cared for, safe and ready to learn…every day!