It's easier said than done, especially when your kids know which buttons to press, but we parents have been told to STOP SHOUTING at our children and shower them with love and praise instead.
The National Association of Head Teachers and the charity Family Action have said whatever the stresses and strains of modern life, mums and dads should avoid shouting or swearing in the home to ensure pupils go to school happy and 'ready to learn'.
(I must remember that the next time the youngest puts his underpants on his head as I'm trying to get him ready to leave the house every morning).
And in case we're too dense to realise that, in an ideal world, love and cuddles are preferable to blowing our stacks, schools are to issue us with an advice leaflet telling us how to boost children's self-esteem – including 'think twice before lighting up cigarettes in front of children'.
This is just insulting our intelligence, no?
The guidance encourages parents to 'tell your child that you love them every day' and shower them with praise to make sons or daughters feel secure.
It continues by saying parents should act as a 'positive role model' to children (really?) by ensuring they 'don't shout and swear in front of them' (who'd have thought it?)'.
It recommends that parents tell children off if they are naughty but 'focus on their action and how to do better next time'.
The stating the bleedin' (sorry) obvious guidance also emphasises the importance of creating a healthy family environment, including introducing children to food from around the world, creating a balanced diet, talking about the importance of hygiene and showering regularly and ensuring they 'exercise vigorously for at least 30 minutes'.
The move forms part of a campaign launched by the two organisations designed to make sure children turn up at school 'ready to learn'.
But Bernadette Hunter, president of the NAHT, said modern life was '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'.
Speaking before the start of the NAHT annual conference in Birmingham today (Friday), she said: "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."
She added: "Trying out some of the suggestions can go a long way to giving children a sense of wellbeing which will give them a good starting point for school life."
The NAHT, which represents 28,500 heads, deputies and assistant head teachers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, will distribute the advice through members' schools.
It could reach 85 per cent of primary schools and almost half of secondaries.
The guide tells parents to:
• Praise your children's efforts and let them know it is 'okay to make mistakes';
• Listen to your child and show them that you value their views and opinions;
• Help your child understand about a balanced diet and the importance of eating fruit and vegetables to keep them fit and healthy;
• Let your child help with baking and preparing family meals so they understand about food;
• Encourage children to exercise for 30 minutes a day and adopt at least one hobby involving physical activity, such as dance, swimming or football;
• Get out and about as a family, including playing tag in the park or going for a bike ride;
• Think twice before lighting up cigarettes in front of children;
• Talk to children about the 'importance of personal hygiene, such as showering regularly, having clean PE kit and using deodorant when they need to'.
But the guidance was criticised as evidence of the encroaching 'nanny state'.
Chris McGovern, a former head teacher and chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, said that '99.9 per cent of parents' did not need to be reminded how to raise their children.
He said: "Head teachers need to trust parents more. Mostly parents don't need that sort of advice. It's nanny state, it's interfering, it's patronising and it's unnecessary.
"It's almost discouraging parents from following their natural instincts and doing what's right. By saying 'we're taking over', you're going to undermine parents and probably damage the children.
"It's yet another example of the State or the profession's failure to understand that people don't need to be told the obvious. It's distrustful in that sense."
'Distrustful' is one word for it; I have another: *%$*!£@*@&^$£@* (pardon my French)
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