5 Life Skills to Teach Your Child at an Early Age

 5 Life Skills to Teach Your Child at an Early Age

Your child is more capable than you probably give them credit for. It can be easy to surrender to the urge to shield children from harm and do everything for them, so they avoid emotional and/or physical turmoil but it’s important to explore various life skills with then from a young age, to prepare them for the big wide world. I have teamed up with a private nursery in Herefordshire to explore some of the most valuable life skills you should teach your child whilst they’re young.

Treating a Wound 

Your child needs to know how to handle a situation where they have hurt themselves, so show them how to treat burns and other wounds. Avoid freaking out, as this will only teach your child that freaking out is the right way to respond to a cut or other type of pain. 

Preparing Food 

Of course, there’s no need to teach your child how to cook a roast dinner, but they should be able to put together a simple snack, like washing and peeling fruit and spooning yoghurt into a bowl. As they get a little bit older, you can show them how to prepare a sandwich and safely use the toaster. 

Household Chores 

It’s important to teach youngsters the importance of teamwork and responsibility by giving them some simple household chores to complete. For instance, you could show them how to sort the laundry into coloured piles, or keep their bedrooms tidy. 

Using the Internet 

There are many benefits to the World Wide Web, but it can also be quite a dark place with various dangers. With that said, children need to learn how to use the Internet responsibly as soon as they have access to gadgets with a WiFi connection. Make sure they know to keep passwords a secret, as well as personal details like your address. Teach them to be kind online and never talk to strangers. 

Gardening 

Don’t be afraid to explore some simple gardening tasks with your child, like watering the plants and digging up weeds. The chances are, your child will probably enjoy spending some quality time with you in the garden. Perhaps you could consider helping them plant their very own vegetable patch so that they can learn about the responsibility of keeping plants alive. 

Of course, there are lots of other skills to teach your child, but the above should certainly get you started. You’re probably naturally exploring various life skills without even realising, just by being a good role model.

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What to Expect When Your Child Starts School

What to Expect When Your Child Starts School

September marks the start of a new academic year in the UK, and many parents are probably feeling anxious about what to expect from their child, especially if they’re just starting out in Reception. It’s a massive change in the family dynamic and you will need to make a conscious effort to help your child adjust, especially at first. Here’s some information from a prep school in Hertfordshire to help ease your nerves. 

Your Diary Will Explode with Events

Once your child starts school, you’ll probably find yourself constantly adding school trips, bake sales, playdates, extra-curricular activities, non-uniform days, parents’ evening, and a range of other events to your diary or calendar. It’s a lot to keep on top of, but doing so will show your child that you are truly committed to their school life, which should encourage them to perform to the best of their abilities.

Your Child May Ask Some Difficult Questions

As your child starts to meet lots of new people at their new school, including older children, they may start to ask you some difficult questions, like what happens when you die or where do babies come from. Try to be as honest as possible with your youngster, without scaring them or overloading them with unnecessary information.

There Will Be Lots of Stains

You’re probably already prepared for this one, being the parent of a small child, but the chances are they will come home with a new stain on their uniform almost every day. Food, paint, grass stains, pen ink – you name it, you will have to clean it!

Your Child Will Probably Be Exhausted

Getting up early for school and spending hours using up their energy on different activities will lead to tiredness, so try not to nag your child after school. Let them chill out and consider moving their bedtime a little earlier so that they have enough time to recuperate, especially for the first couple of months when they’re getting used to their new routine. 

There Will Be Homework

Even in Reception, children are given homework to test their understanding. Don’t let this slide, as homework is important. If you get them into a routine of prioritising their homework from such a young age, it shouldn’t be as challenging when they’re a teenager tackling their GCSEs and A Levels.

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The Benefits of Journaling for Kids

The Benefits of Journaling for Kids
 
Journaling is a great opportunity for youngsters to jot down their thoughts in a private space, which is particularly important if they are struggling with something or require a creative outlet. It’s not just about exploring what happened yesterday, it’s also a chance for children to explore their sense of self. There are lots of benefits of journaling for children, as explored below by a private school in North London.

Preserves Memories: Keeping a journal can help children preserve their memories and give them something to look back on in years to come. As a result, they will be able to see how far they’ve come and what they have learnt or experiences over the past few months or years. 

A Chance Process Thoughts: Writing down one’s thoughts and feelings is a chance for a child to process things effectively and therefore make sensible decisions on how to proceed. This can reduce stress and unnecessary worry. They may gain more clarity on their future goals or work through a problem without getting worked up. 

Stimulates Creativity: By journaling in the form of storytelling, children are able to find creative and imaginative ways to solve problems, which is an important skill that some of the most successful businesspeople in the world vouch for. 

Strengthens Writing Skills: Practising writing on a regular basis will help your child with their written communication skills, because they will become better at spelling and grammar, which can improve overall academic success. 

Provides a Break from Technology: Many parents are worried about how much time their children are spending playing in their smartphones, tablets, computers, and games consoles. While this is fine in moderation, it’s important to encourage children to take a break from their gadgets and engage in technology-free activities. 

Provides Perspective: Journaling allows details and thoughts that were previously in the background to rise to the surface, allowing youngsters to gain a new perspective. 

Perhaps you could consider starting your own journal and make it something that you and your child do together as a bonding exercise. To get started, make sure they have a nice big notebook and lots of coloured pens and pencils so that they can doodle and create a work of art.

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Top Tips for Giving Your Child Career Advice

Top Tips for Giving Your Child Career Advice

When the time comes for your child to start making big decisions about their education and future career, they will need plenty of support and advice from you to help them feel confident in their decisions. I have teamed up with an independent school in Surrey to share some top tips when it comes to giving your child career advice.

Focus on their Interests

Your child has their own identity, so try help them consider what they’re actually interested in and avoid advising them based on your own likes and dislikes. What you find boring or too challenging might be what makes your child tick. Help them think about what they enjoy doing and see if you can come up with some career routes together, based on those interests. 

It would be a good idea to encourage your child to pursue a range of extra-curricular activities from a young age to help them find their passions. Take them to museums and galleries, ask them to help you with the gardening and DIY tasks, and encourage them to play sports and learn musical instruments. The more activities they are exposed to, the easier it will be for them to find their passion. 

Surround Your Child with Positive Role Models

It’s likely that you have lots of friends and family who all have different types of jobs and careers. Encourage your child to chat to these people about what’s involved in their jobs and consider whether or not that might be something that could interest them in the future. Your child will learn from all of the role models in their life, including yourself, so give them a chance to develop an understanding of what constitutes a successful career. 

Don’t Be Pushy

Try not to put too much pressure on your child to make a final decision about their career, because they will likely change their mind several times and are probably already feeling the pressure. Be patient and don’t force the issue; give them time to think things through and explore their options. Remind them that life is a learning journey and it’s ok to change course, as long as they are continuing to discover new things about themselves and the world around them.


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Top Tips for Your Dog's Well Being & Sleep

Top Tips for Your Dog's Well Being & Sleep

Importance of sleep is very well known to all of us. However, good sleep is not just essential to human beings but it holds the same importance for our pets as well. To ensure good health and well being, it’s vital to analyse the amount of sleep our pets need, as well as the things for them we can do to support a good sleep. 

Sleep Needs Depend on Various Factors 

Including the longer stretch of sleep and short naps, the adult dogs need about 12-15 hours of sleep. However, the puppies need about 18 hours of sleep and sleep training can help them fix their sleep routine. Working out on the number of hours a dog needs to sleep is also dependent on their breed and size. For instance, since the larger breeds need to work harder to move around, they also need time to rest because that’s crucial for their bodies to recover. A plethora of ways have been explored through the ''Be a Doggy-Do-Little'' campaign that can help your pup snooze more soundly. There are so many practical tips that have been suggested, and are worth reading. 

Selecting the Right Bed 

It’s important to provide a comfortable pet bed for the pup to rest. There are different types of dog beds that are available in the market, from a traditional style dog bed to other styles such as a crate. However, the most essential thing to consider when choosing a bed is to keep in mind the size of the dog, and to ensure it’s cosy and well cushioned with a bumper or a soft padding. Moreover, a drop-down cover on the outside can also be added for extra privacy. An ideal sleep space should be quiet and warm, and somewhere that gives them privacy to unwind and enjoy their slumber. 

Sleep Routine for Pets

An effective bedtime routine can work wonders and this includes timing their last meal of the day just before bedtime so they sleep more soundly with a full tummy. Some pups need more time to digest their meals, so it’s important to adjust their meal times accordingly. Providing a calm environment with dim lights can also help the pooch to get ready to drift off. 

Develop Good Bedtime Habits 

Adopting good bedtime habits can go a long way, and this includes things like a quick bathroom break before bedtime, so they don’t have to wake up during the night. Moreover, it’s also suggested to sleep in separate sleeping quarters rather than snuggling with the pet on the same bed. 

Choosing the Right Diet 

Some dogs may struggle to sleep due to some factors including diet. If a pup’s diet is extremely energy rich, they’ll not be able to drift off easily and that’s because certain additives, proteins and nutritional components can have a lot of impact on sleep and the overall behaviour of the pet. It is therefore, essential to choose the correct diet based on their breed and age because that will have a lot of impact on their sleeping routine. A bedtime biscuit or a natural sleep supplement, such as melatonin can also help in sleep. However, it's recommended to first discuss with the vet to work out on the safest and most effective type of supplement for your four-legged friend.

How do you make sure your pooch sleeps well every night? 
Share your tips and tricks using the hashtag 
#SleepForDogs

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Helping Your Child Develop Their Vocabulary

Helping Your Child Develop Their Vocabulary

Vocabulary is important – there’s no getting away from the fact that articulate, well-spoken people have more opportunities in life than those who struggle.

It’s a good idea to double-down on your child’s vocabulary from an early age. 

Here are some top tips to help your child develop an advanced vocabulary that will not only help them express themselves but also help them to feel more confident in day-to-day life.

Reading to your child daily – it’s often mentioned that reading regularly is vital for children’s development but did you know that by the time a child is ready for nursery school, those who have been read to on a daily basis have heard a million more words than those who have not been read to regularly. That million-word gap is what sets your child on the right path from the start. It’s hearing words which enables a child to learn to use and understand them in the right context. 

Chatting – and not just about childish subjects (though of course those are important too!) but also about more complex matters. Don’t be afraid to use more sophisticated language when talking to your child. Use more challenging words and explain their meanings. Help your child to think about things more deeply by asking them to talk about their opinions and thoughts on different subjects. 

Word games – there are so many fun word games out there that it’s not a chore to instigate a routine of wordy fun with your child! 

Singing – Teach your child a variety of different age appropriate rhymes and have fun with them. In this way,  your child will retain the information in a more effective way. Make your own wordings and challenge your child to come up with their own too. 

Rhyming - rhyming is fun and it doesn’t need to be part of poetry. If you’re on a long walk, play the rhyme game. One person calls out something they’ve spotted and then both take turns to think of words that rhyme with it. 

Always encourage your child to express themselves and take time to listen when they do speak.

As they get older, you can consider letting them participate in recitation classes, drama classes and even debating. These public speaking opportunities will really help to develop both their vocabulary and their confidence.

Many schools offer extra-curricular clubs like this and you should encourage your child to participate. This prep school in London provides many opportunities for children to develop their speaking skills and students tend to excel when it comes to verbal challenges in examinations. 

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5 Signs Your Child Needs a Tutor

5 Signs Your Child Needs a Tutor

A child who is struggling academically may feel a mixture of emotions. Worry, anxiety, sadness and insecurity are common. Most children have an inbuilt desire to do well at school, a need to please and to succeed. So, when a child faces a struggle with one or more subjects, it can be very distressing for them. 

Parents worry too – concerns range from exam results, university decisions and career choices. But it’s very important that as a parent, you don’t let your child see your concern. Nagging or punishing a child for poor results at school is not an effective way to deal with the situation. 

What does make a difference is positive action – finding them the support that they need to succeed. Support can come in many shapes. It could be extra time to complete homework, or a support teacher in class. Or it could be that your child needs a tutor. 

Not all children need a tutor due to poor results at school though. Some might need that extra help in order to ensure that they reach their true potential for school entrance examinations or GCSEs. 

Here are 5 signs that your child would benefit from a tutor. 

1 - Uneven progress at school 

Your child’s reports might be very varied. They’re doing great at the subjects they enjoy but there’s ‘room for improvement’ at those they’re not naturally good at. You know your child has ability – but they’re not able to focus in certain areas. 

2 - Lack of focus for homework 

Your child may start avoiding their homework if they’re struggling with the subject or even if they just don’t like the subject. 

Constant reminders make no difference – some children will simply try to avoid the tasks at hand. A tutor can often bring a different energy to the subject and a really good one can even awaken a new-found interest or passion for a subject which your child previously didn’t enjoy. 

3 - Avoiding school 

If your child is regularly saying they’re sick when you suspect they are not, it could be due to bullying or simply down to academic struggles. A tutor can fill in those gaps so that the issue doesn’t continue and become worse. 

4 - Disorganisation 

If your child is generally disorganised, a tutor can offer a great way to link home with school and ensure that your child doesn’t drop the ball with homework and preparation. 

Tutors will need to know what your child is studying, what homework is due and in which areas your child is struggling. 

They can assist with homework which of course means that things get turned in on time and the correct books are brought home and returned on time. 

5 - Concealing test results 

Or indeed, a failure to let you know anything at all about what they are studying at school. This is a sign that your child is having a hard time and isn’t feeling proud of their performance. A tutor could be just the thing to bring them out of their negative cycle. 

Working with your child’s school 

Your child’s teachers will have noticed if they’re struggling and a good school, like this private school in Ireland will also be in a position to advise you regarding tutors. 

Information about where to engage the very best tutors, how much tutoring your child needs and other ways to help your child improve academically will all be on offer. 

Not all children sail through education – many need assistance and it’s a good thing that there’s so much well-designed help available today. 

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Understanding Your Child’s Curriculum

Understanding Your Child’s Curriculum

Curriculums have changed a lot in relatively few years – it’s probable that the curriculum you studied in school is very different to that which your child will study. 

It’s important for parents to fully understand their child’s curriculums in order to be able to offer full support as exams loom. The information you get from your child may not always be reliable so it’s best to have a good grasp of how things work today. 

Let’s have a look at how today’s GCSE and A Level curriculums work – whilst all schools may have minor differences in their timeframes, most are bound to the same curriculums across the country. GCSE is a synonym of The General Certificate of Secondary Education and was initially introduced in 1986. 

The GCSE courses are taught in what is the last key stage – key stage 4, of the National Curriculum in England. Key stage 4 is taught to students in years 10 and 11. That’s when they’re aged between 14 and 16. There are a lot of GCSE subjects to choose from – 50 in all! There are also 14 vocational GCSEs available. 

Not all subjects are covered by all schools though. So it’s important that you find out what’s on offer at your child’s school. Within those 50 subjects there are 5 ‘core GCSEs’ which all students are required to take. These include mathematics, science, English, Citizenship and PE. 

Students are allowed to choose at least one course in another 4 areas – these areas are known as ‘entitlement areas’ and include the arts, design and technology, as well as the humanities and some modern foreign languages. 

When it comes to A Levels (Advanced Levels) these are usually taken by students aged between 16 and 17 in the first instance – that’s known as Level 1 or AS Levels. Then aged 17-18, students take Level 2 – that’s known as A2. It takes 2 years for students to study for their A Levels and examinations are taken at the end of each year. If a student wishes to go to university, then A Levels are important. 

Examinations may of course be retaken if results aren’t as expected. Remember, choosing which subjects to take at either GCSE or A Level, is tricky and young people do have some anxieties over the decisions. 

A good school, such as this grammar school in Wirral, will have excellent support for students as they make those all-important selections. Remember, examinations are hard on young people and it’s important that they receive consistent support and encouragement.


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Win 1 of 1,000 Dior J'adore Absolu Samples

Win 1 of 1,000 Dior J'adore Absolu Samples

I love applying for competitions and I have spotted an amazing competition where you can win 1 of 1000  Dior J'adore Absolu Samples! J’adore eau de parfum is the great women's floral fragrance by Dior. A bouquet finely crafted down to the last detail, like a custom-made flower. Perfect to try before buying the whole bottle.

You can apply to win via Freebies UK by signing up to their newsletter (but you can unsubscribe anytime). However, you must be over 18 and must be a UK resident to enter the competition.

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Top Tips for Teaching Your Child to Read

Top Tips for Teaching Your Child to Read

Reading is a crucial stepping stone in a child’s educational journey. It will also provide many benefits beyond school too, as children often enjoy reading for entertainment and relaxation.

One of the best ways to teach your child how to read is by reading together at home. However there are lots of other ways that your child can practice. I have teamed up with an independent Nursery in London to share the following tips.

Day-to-day reading 

It is important to include reading into your day-to-day activities. For example, you could ask your child to read out a recipe as you bake together or help with the shopping by reading the overhead signs at the supermarket. The trick is to try and make reading feel more fun, instead of just a school activity.

Reading apps 

Reading apps are another way to help your child practice whilst having fun. You can download these apps onto your smart phones and iPads, and they encourage children to read through interactive games. Apps allow you to choose what your child can access, which is a much safer alternative to letting them browse the World Wide Web. 

Reading space 

Encourage your child to read by creating a reading space within your home. You could make a reading den with book shelves or a desk space with posters on the wall. Perhaps you could include your child’s favourite theme, like unicorns or dinosaurs to make reading time even more exciting. 

Imagination 

A passion for reading will also boost your child’s imagination and creativity. If your child has a favourite story, ask them to use their imagination to create a new ending. Get them to think about what parts of the story could be changed in order to achieve a different outcome. 

Relaxation 

When your child seems stressed or troubled, encourage them to turn to reading. By focusing on reading, your child will be able to forget about their worries and relax. Show your child that they can always use the power of their own imagination to take them away to somewhere else when they need a break.

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5 Home Improvement Ideas for Summer


Whether you are looking to update your kitchen or improve your garden, here are five home improvement ideas to consider this summer.

Tidy up the garden 

Now is the time to start tidying up your garden ready for family gatherings. Start by looking at your garden storage and how it can be better organised. A Clutterbox is perfect for garden clutter! This free standing storage unit with double doors provides easy access to your hose reel, gardening tools or folding deck chairs. It is a perfect addition for a smaller garden as it can be placed against a wall or fence. 

Update your lawn 

If you have young children who like to run around bare foot in the garden, then you may wish to consider installing artificial grass. This is an ideal grass alternative for families because it is low maintenance and it much softer on children’s feet. Artificial grass also means no more mud being brought into your house after your children have been running around outside. 

Accessorise indoors 

If you don’t want to completely redecorate indoors, but you do want to add a splash of colour; what about some new accessories? You could change your curtains, add new pillows to the sofa or buy some new bedding. Bed linen is a great way of creating a new colour scheme in your bedroom and it is nice and easy to swap when you fancy a change. 

Update your worktops 

Installing new worktops will make a huge difference to your kitchen and the cost of changing your worktops is much less than a whole kitchen renovation. There are lots of options to choose from. Wood, granite and marble will be the more expensive options, but you could consider a self-adhesive vinyl for a much more affordable update. 

Clean the windows 

Finally, a fantastic way to brighten up your home this summer is simply by cleaning your windows! It really makes a huge difference when the sun is shining. Try a traditional mixture of warm water and vinegar to help get your windows sparkling clean and use kitchen towels or newspaper to dry for a streak-free finish.

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Helping Your Child Become a Great Problem Solver


Learning how to problem solve is an essential part of your child’s development. This is because problem solving gives your child the necessary skills to observe, analyse and communicate effectively. Problem solving skills will not only help your child to find solutions to difficulties they encounter on a daily basis, but they will also provide many benefits for their education, future career and self-confidence.

To help your child become a great problem solver, I have teamed up with an independent school in Yorkshire to share the following tips…

Encourage free play

Encouraging free play will give your child plenty of opportunities to learn. This kind of self-exploration is crucial for developing problem skills. For example, whilst your child is playing with water they can experiment with different materials to discover which ones sink and which ones float. Your child can also explore what happens to certain substances like oil when then they are added to water.

Explore the outdoors

Outdoor experiences offer new challenges to children, which help to develop problem-solving skills. These opportunities will help to build confidence and help your child to identify hazards and evaluate risks. If you would like to spend more time outdoors with your family you could plan a camping trip. This will give you all a chance to explore together, learn survival skills and try new activities such as orienteering and building a camp fire.

Coding

A fun way to teach problem solving to older children is through coding. Coding develops brainstorming, creative thinking, and decision-making skills, all of which are necessary for a successful education and career. With coding, children learn to spot a problem and then break it down into smaller pieces in order to solve it effectively. This is called decomposition, which is a key skill for future employment opportunities.

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Why Are Chores Important for a Child's Development?


There are valuable lessons that children can learn by helping with chores around the house. Tidying up their toys or feeding a pet is not only helpful for parents, but these tasks will develop many personal skills and help children to feel more competent. 

I have collaborated with an Independent School in Guildford to learn more about the importance of chores for children… 

Responsibility 

Doing chores helps children develop an understanding of responsibility, self-worth and belonging. Whether they are tidying up or doing the recycling, helping out around the house gives them a sense of accomplishment. Doing chores will also help your child to feel like they are part of a team. Joining in to help other family members teaches them kindness and respect, which will serve them well throughout their lives. 

Teamwork 

Doing chores gives an important message of teamwork at home and promotes the message that your child’s contribution is important. Try to encourage chores which involved in caring for the family. For example, helping to lay the cutlery at meal times or tidying up the living area. These tasks will encourage your child to think about how else they can be helpful and considerate outside of their chores. 

Organisation 

Learning how to carry out household chores will improve your child’s ability to follow directions. Once your child feels confident to complete their tasks without you, you could make a family chores schedule to put up on the wall. This will not only prompt your child to do their chores independently, but it will also help to develop their organisation and time management skills. 

Gratefulness 

Children learn best through hands-on experiences, which is why household chores make excellent learning opportunities. When your child experiences the time and effort it takes to cook, clean and tidy up each day, they are more likely to be grateful when you do it - Or if you are lucky, offer to do it for you!


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