Is my Child Old Enough to be Home Alone?


It’s a rite of passage isn’t it? The first time you feel comfortable enough to leave your child unsupervised at home. Some children will be ready for this level of responsibility before others and it’s important to gauge your child’s feelings on the subject before actually leaving them alone.

The law is somewhat grey – it’s not legal to leave a child in a situation where they can encounter danger but there’s no specification on how old a child needs to be. The best way to look at this is to consider your home environment and your child’s skill levels. For example – most 14-year-old children are mature enough to be left alone for some time, but not in a situation where they’re responsible for smaller children and animals for a lengthy time period.

Most parents know that children under the age of about 12 are quite immature still. They lack common sense. But there are exceptions to the rule and some 11-year-old children would be perfectly capable of spending an hour at home alone and remain safe. Use your own judgement. It would be extremely careless to leave a very young child alone at home because under the age of about 11, children lack the confidence to make quick decisions or use their judgement.

Discuss the rules

Make sure your child knows how long you’re going to be away and when to expect you back. They should be informed of who to call in an emergency and have a list of safe adults to contact in addition to the emergency services. Good rules for children being left alone for the first time include the following. 

  1. No cooking 
  2. No leaving the property to visit friends or shops 
  3. No letting anyone into the house

Teach your child what to do if someone knocks on the door unexpectedly. It’s better to tell them not to answer. Let them know that you will be back at an agreed time and stick to it. Children who are trusted at home grow into confident and capable adults. This private school in London believes that responsibility helps children to become effective leaders. Once your child has the confidence to be left for longer periods of time, you and they will both relax more and it will become less of an event.

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A Parent’s Guide to GCSE’s


GCSEs were first introduced in 1988. The new GCSE was thought to be an improvement on the old O Level system as there were more subjects available and the examination process was more child friendly. The grading system is cause for some confusion among parents today. Until 2016, GCSEs were graded on a letter scale – from A to G with a score of C being about equivalent to a C in the old O Level system.

Understanding the new GCSE grading system

Instead of being graded with A* or A, B, C, D etc, papers are now given numerical scores.

9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, or 1. The highest grades being 9, 8 and 7. These replace A* and A. The top 20% of results are those grades 9. 

When do students make their GCSE choices?

This is done at the end of year 8 or 9. Schools generally hold options evenings at this time of year and your child will be able to learn more about the various choices and how each is assessed. This is also your chance to find out more about the various options.

When should my child start revising?

This is usually begun in January but there are a variety of factors to consider. How able is your child? How efficient are they at study? 

When do exams begin?

Usually from May the 14th to June 22nd in years 10 and 11. Your school will keep you informed but it doesn’t hurt to ask in advance so you’re prepared. Results are released in August; usually during the third week.

How can I help my child?

Educate your child on the process so that they feel empowered. Help them to revise by ensuring they have a quiet space in which to work. Ensure they eat a good diet and have a balance of work and play. Stress will not help them get the results they desire. A school with good pastoral care is important during the GCSE years; this independent school in Wellingborough ensures that their pupils feel supported and safe during their time at the school.


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How to Raise a Science Lover


Helping your child to learn to love science should be a fun and fulfilling educational journey.

Science is all around us. In cooking, gardening, art and medicine. It’s found in animal care, music and even dance. The natural environment provides many opportunities for fostering a love of science. This nursery in Hampshire believes that children who are encouraged to spend time outdoors will thrive.

A good way to begin your child’s journey of scientific discovery is to enter via something which your child already loves. Whatever your child enjoys, there will be a route into science which is tied up within the pastime or hobby. Let’s look at some of the opportunities presented by the most common passions found among children of all ages.

Art and Science

Art is a wonderful place to begin fostering a love of science. Most children, especially younger ones, enjoy art. There are many ways in which science is intertwined with art and a number of projects which you could instigate so that younger children begin to understand some of the scientific processes involved. Try experimenting with marbling paper for example, this will help your child learn about viscosity and how different liquids react to one another. 

Sound and Science

Sound is another great place to begin looking at science. Teaching your child about vibration with the use of different objects is not only amusingly messy but also fun. Similarly, filling bottles with different amounts of liquid and showing your child how they will each produce a different note can be an absorbing and fun activity.

Cooking and Science

Cooking is a fun and rewarding activity which can easily be linked to science. Help your child learn all sorts of scientific facts via food. One fun example is making butter in a bottle. Simply half fill a plastic bottle with heavy cream and show your child how to shake it (with the lid screwed on tight!). The fats will separate and butter will form, teaching your child the rudiments of emulsification. Similarly, baking bread can begin to teach children about fermentation. 

Talk about it

Science infiltrates most of our lives – discuss the facts with your child and if they’re particularly interested in an aspect of it, foster that interest by providing books and other learning tools. When a child understands that science is only as complicated as you want it to be, they’ll always have an interest in it.


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Helping Your Child with Social Skills


Social skills are at the top of most parents list when it comes to which areas they want their child to develop successfully. Social skills are vital when it comes to school and career success – but they don’t come naturally to all children. It’s important to acknowledge that for many reasons, some children struggle with social skills. They may be shy or lack in confidence but there are numerous ways in which to help and empower them. 

The Shy Child 

Shy children can struggle when it comes to the most basic of social interactions. Asking for help, expressing a preference or playing with their peers – it just doesn’t come easy. Children like this are often absolutely fine at home among their own family. So it’s important to talk to your child when they are at their most relaxed. Discuss their difficulties and strategies which can help them to develop more social skills. Encouraging children to ‘have a go’ is how this independent school in London fosters confidence in children – and it’s confidence that is at the core of social interaction. 

What are Social Skills? 

In a nutshell, social skills are the set of behaviours which allow us all to successfully navigate our way through life by relating to other people in the best way in any given situation. These behaviours range from the ability to engage in small talk as adults to the ability to tell a story and keep an entire room fascinated and of course, for children those abilities are different. Children with good social skills tend to be popular and sought after as playmates – something we all want for our child. Some people are naturals. They excel at relating to others and have no issues talking to strangers or to peers. If your child is shyer or simply gets tongue-tied when expected to speak, give them opportunities to practice. 

Role Playing 

Role playing is an important part of learning to get over social difficulties. Discuss your child’s weakest areas with them and practice playing out different scenarios. If your child finds it hard to instigate games in the playground or to join in with others, practice some openers with them. For example – it’s not usually a good idea to ask, “Can I play?” because that leaves an opening for a child to say “No”. Which is not what a shy child needs to hear. 

Teach your child to use open-ended conversation starters. So if we look at the playground as a potential setting for our scenario, you can suggest some open-ended conversation starters to help your child join in. Here are some examples: 

“What are you playing?” 

“Wow, that was fast!” 

“This game looks fun!” 

“Have you ever played X (insert game here) before?” 

You can practice this with your child; discuss the sorts of occasions the different phrases might be used. 

Out and About 

When you’re out and about with your child, shopping, eating in restaurants or even visiting the doctor, it’s important to let them try to interact with adults. Small challenges can be a great way to begin; for example, your child could pay for their own things in the shop. Teach them what to say and when to say it. 

Good Manners 

Good manners are the basis of good social skills. Please and thank you as well as consideration for others will all help your child to develop their social skills.


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What are the Benefits of School Uniform?


How do your kids feel about school uniform? Lots of children aren’t particularly fond of it, but it is actually very beneficial for many reasons. It creates a sense of identity for the school, allowing children to feel like they belong to a place that they can be proud of. Uniform policies also allow the school to ensure their students are presented in a smart manner so that they can represent the school respectfully. A preschool in Surrey explore the additional benefit below. 

School uniform can be costly, but there tend to be systems in place to help you spread out the costs. What’s more, it probably works out cheaper than having to provide your child with a full wardrobe of different clothes for each day and keeping up with the latest trends. Unfortunately, bullying tends to be more prominent in schools that do not have a school uniform policy in place, so one of the main benefits of uniform is that it reduces bullying and peer pressure. After all, when everyone is dressed in the same way, there are limited opportunities to judge or be judged based on what you’re wearing. 

Students usually find school uniform less distracting than their own clothes, which allows them to focus on their schoolwork rather than what their friends are wearing. It helps them prepare for their future where they may be asked to dress in a certain way or wear a uniform when they start working. What’s more, uniform improves safety for the students. For instance, an intruder at the school will be easy to spot and if the students are out on a school trip, teachers will be able to easily identify who belongs with them.

Although children may feel like they’d prefer to wear their own clothes, they would soon start to find it a chore to plan their outfit every day, which might even start to interfere with their morning routine and make them late for school.


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Exploring Mindfulness with Your Child

Practising mindfulness is a fantastic way to tune into moment-by-moment thoughts, feelings, and experiences, rather than focussing on things that have happened in the past or worrying about things that may or may not happen in the future. Studies have found that people who practise mindfulness tend to feel more accomplished and are able to enjoy life to a greater degree, because they appreciate every moment. Parents can help their children become more mindful with the following tips from an independent school in Hitchin, which will help them appreciate the little things in life.

As with anything new, practising mindfulness may seem quite daunting, but it’s actually pretty simple. You can practise mindfulness with everything you do, like taking a walk or hugging someone. The trick is to really tune into how the experience makes you feel. For instance, it might feel nice to stretch your legs and get some fresh air whilst you’re walking. Prompt your child to think about these things whenever they are doing something, until it starts to come naturally to them. Ask them about their thoughts and feelings on a regular basis so that they learn to tune into them.

When you’re out and about with your child, ask them to have a look at their surroundings and talk about some of the things they have observed. For instance, what can they see, hear, smell, feel or even taste? You don’t always have to focus on positives; it’s also important to recognise unpleasant sensations so that they can be avoided again in the future. Understanding how the mind and body responds to certain experiences will help your child to feel grateful for the good and prepare for the bad.

There is lots of information on the internet about mindfulness and how to practise with your child but try not to force it if it doesn’t come naturally to them. It would be better to try again in the future. You can always contact your child’s teachers if you would like some additional support, as the school are always very forthcoming when it comes to helping parents with their child’s wellbeing.


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The Importance of Pastoral Care in Schools


The effectiveness of the pastoral care department within a school will determine the overall attitude and atmosphere amongst the pupils. Pastoral care basically describes the dedication the staff have to helping all students develop on a spiritual and emotional level, along with the genuine display of interest for their growth and wellbeing. I have teamed up with a private school in Surrey to explore the significance of pastoral care in further detail.

Pastoral care and parenting have many parallels. Both roles involve protecting children and resolving any issues they are faced with, from bullying and friendship troubles to problems with academic performance, and any other issues that might cause anguish. Unlike parenting, however, pastoral department is required to care for a whole school, not just a few children, which is what makes it so complicated. With that said, there has to be various policies and procedures in position to guarantee that the department is effective in achieving its goal. 

Effective pastoral care connects each and every child within a school so that they feel like part of a wider community, but while being a team member in a greater whole, their individual needs are always met. One of the leading pastoral carers at a school is the form teacher, who interacts with the students in their form group at least once daily. They provide a link between a child’s home life and school life and can observe every child’s overall development. After all, if something is going wrong in one aspect of a child’s life, it is likely to impinge on the other areas of their life. 

Ultimately, the real indication of terrific pastoral care is that pupils learn to intuitively care for themselves and for their friends and family. They will leave school with the ability to make sensible decisions and contribute to their community in helpful and supportive ways.


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Lamb Mince Dirty Fries Recipe

Lamb Mince Dirty Fries Recipe

Since we have now moved on to the summer holidays, the time when schools close and families plan for summer fun activities, it is the time to keep both adults and kids busy, fed and happy. This time also happens to be the period of Festivals & the Food Trucks and the Muslim community across the world would be celebrating Eid which will probably fall between July 30 - August 3rd. However, the Eid festivities generally last longer throughout the month, that means lots of family get togethers and food! 

During the festive season, everyone is in search of delectable yet easy meaty recipes, so I've come up with the recipe of lamb mince dirty fries. The dish works perfectly as a side for both adults and children alike and something that provides all the necessary nutrients to all ages, because of the meat content added to it. 

The Major Ingredient - The Lamb! 

Lamb is one of the most exciting ingredients that can be used to create lots of different recipes. 

Lamb Try it, Love it

The EU funded Lamb Try it, Love it campaign has enabled people to discover the unique flavours of lamb at their convenience. The protein packed premium lamb produced by European farmers ensures the use of sustainable practices and is a praiseworthy contribution to the local economies. 

Variety of Cuts of Lamb

Being a versatile ingredient, lamb can be used to prepare lots of dishes and the availability of different cuts enables us to create incredible lamb dishes that aren't just quick and easy to prepare, but the health benefits are immense too! 

Health Benefits of Lamb

Lamb contains essential nutrients and proteins as well as 7 vitamins and minerals including vitamin B12 and niacin that leads to a healthy lifestyle. Once you try it, you're definitely going to love it! For more information on the campaign and for interesting new recipes, check out lamb try it, love it.


Lamb Mince Dirty Fries Recipe

INGREDIENTS FOR LAMB MINCE DIRTY FRIES:
(Serves 4-6)

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium, chopped onion
1 medium, chopped tomato
1 tsp ginger and garlic paste
1 tsp salt, or as required  
1/2  tsp red chilli powder
250 grams lamb mince
1 pack of frozen French Fries (500 grams, either plain cut or crinkle) 
Handful of sliced black olives 
Handful of sliced plum tomatoes 
Jalapeños, as needed
Tomato ketchup and Mayonnaise for drizzling


INSTRUCTIONS:

In a pot, add oil and turn on the flame. Now add chopped onion and cook on slow flame for 1-2 minutes.
Add chopped tomatoes and cook for another 2 minutes. 
Add ginger garlic paste, salt and red chilli powder.
Add lamb mince and cook on high heat for 5 minutes. 
Cover the lid, and let the meat cook for 15 minutes.  
Once the lamb mince is cooked well, turn off the heat and let it rest for a few minutes.
To cook the French fries, you can either bake them for the suggested time given on the packet of the fries or use an Air Fryer to cook them. This should take between 10-15 minutes. 
The French fries can also be deep-fried, however, I'd suggest the first two options because they hardly require any oil.
While the meat and fries are being cooked, prepare for the toppings and cut everything needed so they're ready when everything needs to be assembled together.
Slice some plum tomatoes, olives and some jalapeños (as needed, depending on how much of these you fancy adding).
Once everything is cooked, take a dish and place the French fries on it, add the cooked mince and add all the toppings. 
In the end, drizzle some tomato ketchup and mayonnaise. 
You can also add any other sauce you fancy, either chilli or mild depending on the taste of the people who will be enjoying the dish and how adventurous they are when it comes to accepting different spice levels.    


Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20-30 minutes
Serves: 4-6

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Why Are Drama Classes so Important in Schools?



As a parent, you may not be particularly concerned with your child’s drama classes and instead choose to focus on their core subjects, such as English, Maths and Science. However, the importance of drama classes, especially for younger pupils, should not be overlooked. I have teamed up with an independent school in Richmond to explore the benefits of drama lessons in further detail. 

One of the key advantages to drama classes is that they help even the shyest of children to become more confident. It might not happen after the first lesson, but with time, students are given the self-esteem required to speak up, coherently, in front of a crowd of people. What’s more, by having to express themselves, both verbally and through body language, they will become better communicators. 

In drama lessons, children are encouraged to listen to the ideas of their peers and take turns. This boosts their ability to concentrate, which is a vital skill across all other areas of the curriculum as well as in their personal lives. 

The themes explored in drama classes, both imaginary and based on real life events, will help pupils develop a stronger understanding of the world around them. This will help them to become more inquisitive and thoughtful and spark interests that they might not have otherwise come across. What’s more, the school curriculum usually explores similar themes across different subjects, so if they study a Shakespeare play in drama, they might be able to use their newfound knowledge in their English lessons. 

As you can see, all of the skills developed through drama lessons (and the above concepts are just a few of many) can be transferred to other areas of your child’s education and general development. With that said, drama classes should not be taken for granted. In fact, you may even want to encourage your child to join a drama club after school, to take these skills one step further.


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Top Tips for Helping Your Kids with Maths

Top Tips for Helping Your Kids with Maths

Maths can be a challenging subject for many youngsters, and even for lots of adults. Some of us are better with words, crafts or sport. Nevertheless, even if your maths skills are not the sharpest, there are numerous ways you can help to teach your child maths at home. Here are some handy tips from a private school in Kent to help you get started. 

Attempt to integrate maths into your daily lives. This will help to make maths feel enjoyable and less intimidating; your child probably won’t even realise they are learning! For instance, encourage your child to get involved with activities requiring numbers, measuring and basic calculations, such as shopping and baking. 

Lots of parents find it beneficial to have at least a vague understanding of how their children are being taught maths in lessons. It’s really worth having a chat with your child’s teacher and find out what maths skills they are currently exploring in class and what you can do to help them at home. 

There are a variety of helpful resources online that can aid your child’s development and improve their maths skills. You can ask the school for some age appropriate suggestions or have a look for online activities targeted at your child’s year group. Lots of these online programs include videos which can be re-watched and rewound as many times as necessary until your child understands the equation. 

As well as online tools, there are also various educational apps available to download on a smartphone or tablet. They are usually free of charge and tend to include games which help your child see that learning maths can be fun. 

When your child is doing their maths homework, or any homework for that matter, it is wise to let them try to work things out on their own rather than do it on their behalf. Both yourself and their teacher will be able to figure out where they’re going wrong and help them learn, which will be impossible if you have too much of an input in their homework.

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How to Raise an Inquisitive Child

How to Raise an Inquisitive Child

The more curious your child, the more they are likely to learn. Babies are instinctively more inquisitive, as they are starting to suss out what thing are and how they work. However, parents should try and encourage their child’s inquisitiveness as they grow up and encourage them to ask questions and explore. Here are some tips from an independent school near Chorleywood.

It’s important to remember that you are your child’s biggest role model, so if you demonstrate inquisitiveness, they will be more likely to reflect that behaviour. To do this, you should try and ask lots of random, thoughtful questions where possible, like “How do you think chocolate is made?” or “Where do you think rain comes from?” and encourage your child to find the answer for you. This will let them know that it’s perfectly normal to ask even the most obscure questions.

Make sure your questions are open-ended and require more than a one-word answer. This will encourage your child to put some genuine thought into what you are asking, rather than just replying with a yes or no.

If your child has questions and thought of their own, try your best to listen and answer if you can, rather than shrugging them off. They will be reluctant to ask you questions in the future if they think you’re unwilling to help them find the answer. Don’t be afraid to tell them the truth if you don’t know what the answer is; the two of you can do some research together to find out. Let your child know when you think they’ve asked a great question.

Another way to nurture your child’s curiosity is to allow them to experience new things on a regular basis. This could be as simple as cooking a new recipe with different herbs and spices. They won’t be inquisitive if they become accustomed to doing the same things over and over again.

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Exploring Moral Values with Your Child

Exploring Moral Values with Your Child

As any parent knows, there are many layers involved with raising a child; it’s not just about housing them and making sure they eat and do their homework. Of course, giving them the basic essentials and a loving home are major aspects of being a parent, but it’s also imperative to steer your child in the right direction so that they grow up to become a kind-hearted, respectful member of the community. Having appropriate morals and a positive attitude towards others will, in turn, help your child be successful in other ways, both in school and in their personal lives.

You are one of the most influential people in your child’s live, as well as their siblings, grandparents, teachers and friends. This means that you will have a strong impact on the sort of person they grow up to be. With that in mind, it’s never too early to start delving into key moral values with your child. Here are some suggestions to help get you started from a nursery in Lincolnshire.

Try and explore respect with your child by explaining that all people are equal, regardless of their age, gender, race, religion or anything else that makes them different from your child. With that said, all people should be treated respectfully and with kindness. However, respect doesn’t just involve people. Your child will also need to respect the rules, their home and both their own and other people’s possessions. This means they should never take something that doesn’t belong to them and they should be careful not to destroy the things they use. Be persistent with your child until it becomes instinctive to them, because it might take some getting used to. Praise them when they demonstrate respectful behaviour and punish them when they do not.

Willpower is another valuable mindset that you should try and teach your child. Basically, they need to know that giving up when something seems challenging is not the right thing to do. Explain to your child that life is full of ups and downs and missteps help us grow and learn. It’s better to see something through until finality, even if it’s tough, than to only put in a limited amount of effort. This is true of things like school projects and also any hobbies or personal endeavours. If your child does not recognise the significance of willpower and determination, they may find it difficult to stick at a job or a relationship when they’re older. 

There are numerous other moral values that you should try and explore with your child. Many will come naturally, like having good manners and being helpful around the house, but others you might have to work a little harder at, such as punctuality or hard work. The thoughts mentioned above should help motivate you to delve into various other principles and you will likely have your own ideas on what signifies an essential life lesson for your youngster. Remember, as long as you are a good role model to your child, you shouldn’t face too many bumps in the road.

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