Don’t beat yourself up about your parenting this half term. If routines are slipping and the odd issue is developing at school, think of half terms and holidays as a useful bit of punctuation. Time to take stock of how the academic year is panning out,  and to fix any issues before they can be allowed to grow into anything more serious.

And here are those 5 must-dos:

  1. Find out what work problems your child is having and tackle them head-on. If maths is problem then free apps and online games for 5 or 10 minutes morning and evening will give a huge boost to confidence. If reading is falling behind then head out to a bookshop, or trawl amazon online and choose 5 books together. These issues won’t go away, so if something is slipping come up with a plan together.
  2. Address any teacher-problems. If your child doesn’t get on with his or her teacher then that has to be sorted out immediately. Quiz them for exactly what the reason is, take a measured approach and agree a plan with your child to improve the relationship, and put a time-limit on it. The plan should have success criteria, so that both of you accept whether it has worked or not. If this isn’t the answer then book a meeting with the teacher, be charming, flattering, explain it is an anxiety issue and ask for their help as a professional. You’ve got to be schmoozy and flattering or it won’t work.
  3. Get reading back on track. See point one – go online or to a bookshop. If the daily routine has slipped and they still don’t really enjoy reading, put some time and energy in to help them. Don’t worry about simply reading to your child every night so that they learn to enjoy  the story without the bother of all that decoding. It will hugely improve their reading as they learn to self-correct by hearing you do it. Once you self-correct, you start to make more sense of what you are reading and it all falls into place.
  4. Agree a homework, number game and reading routine for next half term and include an agreed bed-time in the talks. Once agreed be prepared to stick to it (but secretly be prepared to adapt it if it starts to fall down straight away – it is so easy to be unrealistic).
  5. Let them have some proper fun. Get outdoors in this beautiful (ish) autumn weather!