It's easy for older children to slink off into their rooms with phones or tablets, only emerging for late-night cheese sandwiches. But some structured family time each week is vital to keep communication going and to promote the family as a unit. Research shows that children who spend more time with their parents have higher self-esteem and confidence. Eat together as often as possible – that is by far the best way for you as parents to stay in touch with older children and subtly pass on their values by debating the news or what’s on TV.
Not every child finds inspiration in school, so use your weekends and evenings to look at fun ways to engage your child in learning such as looking up science experiments or going on local walks for mini bug hunts, or plant documentation.
Focus on basic skills
Do not spend all your time focusing on Maths, English or reading - make sure you focus on basic skills such as being able to zip up their coat, use a knife and fork, go to the toilet on their own and have enough language to understand basic instructions.
- Practice positional language such as behind, in front of, next to, under between and on top.
- Learn and sing songs together
- Practice the days of the week, months of the year
- Look for shapes and name them in every day life (that sign is a circle, the table is a rectangle, that egg is oval, the cushion is a square)
- Recognise and find fractions such as 1/2 and 1/4 of a shape or quantity using home items such as pizza, apples, lego, chocolate etc
- Using British coins and notes to recognise money 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1, £5, £10, £20, £50
- Make analogue clocks and look at learning the clock face to count in 5's, etc around the clock to manage time
- In later years start adding digital and Roma numerals to time telling
- Know and recall times tables up to 12
- Look at home equipment to record measurement in mm, cm, m as well as g and kgs and ml and l
- Work together on the weekly shopping to learn to budget and forward planning