Parents urged to express love daily

Congleton Guardian: The leaflet offered parents pointers on children's emotional wellbeing and raising self-esteem The leaflet offered parents pointers on children's emotional wellbeing and raising self-esteem

Parents are being urged to tell their child that they love them every day to help them succeed at school.

A new leaflet drawn up by headteachers and a charity also said that mums and dads should not swear, shout or smoke in front of their children and make sure they had regular health checks and immunisations.

The advice comes amid concerns that modern life puts parents under so much pressure that they forget to do "little things" that can boost their son or daughter's self-esteem.

Other tips in the leaflet, the latest in a series of guides published by the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) and Family Action, included talking to youngsters about personal hygiene - such as showering regularly, having a clean PE kit and using deodorant, and encouraging them to eat healthily.

The organisations argued that research had shown there was a direct link between a child being happy and healthy at home and their ability to learn at school.

The leaflet offered pointers on subjects such as emotional wellbeing, managing behaviour and raising self-esteem.

In a section on relationships, it said that parents should "tell your child that you love them every day" and advises "be a positive role model for your child; don't shout and swear in front of them, it is rarely effective".

The guide went on to say that parents should praise their child's efforts as well as their achievements, tell them it is okay to make mistakes and tell them if they have done something wrong, but focus on how they could do better next time.

Children should also be allowed to help prepare family meals to help teach them about food, be encouraged to eat a balanced diet and to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day.

Tips on raising a child's self-esteem included "teach your child not to give up and keep trying" and "when things are difficult, help your child to see it as part of life and learning and that it happens to all of us".

And in a section on body matters, the guide advises parents to book regular appointments for their child with the optician and dentist, as well as frequent health checks and immunisations.

It added: "Exposure to cigarette smoke is damaging to your child's health; think before lighting up in front of them."

NAHT president Bernadette Hunter said: "Modern life is so highly pressured for parents that it can be easy to forget to do the little things that can make a real difference to a child's self-esteem.

"For instance, sometimes we assume our children know that we love them but children need to hear the words.

"If children feel happy and healthy at home then they come into the classroom free from worries and ready to learn.

"I believe parents are the best partners schools can have in helping pupils make the most of their education."

The NAHT said it was distributing the leaflet to its 28,500 members who were being encouraged to share it with parents.

Family Action chief executive David Holmes said that everyone wanted to see children who were healthy and ready to learn.

" If the practical advice in this simple leaflet makes a parent pause just for a second and reflect on the wellbeing of their child then it will have done a good job," he said.

The two organisations have produced five leaflets in total as part of an ongoing campaign.

Previous leaflets have focused on building children's communication skills, urging parents to take more responsibility for making sure that their children arrive for lessons ready to learn - for example by getting a good night's sleep and eating a decent breakfast - and advice on how parents can help their youngsters to continue learning after the school bell rings.

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