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How to parent smarter not harder.

Photo of a young girl in a green coat with her arms outstretched trying to catch a bubble in a park to illustrate how play helps children's mental health

How play helps children’s mental health

Play helps children’s mental health in a huge variety of ways. Yet, it is seldom the first thing we think about when it comes to supporting children’s mental or emotional wellbeing. This...

Graph mapping warmth (horizontal) against control (vertical) to demonstrate how positive discipline brings together warmth and boundaries. The top left quadrant represents authoritative parenting which is high warmth and high control.

Positive discipline: warmth plus boundaries

When it comes to parenting styles, research consistently shows that children who are parented with a blend of warmth plus boundaries are most likely to experience positive outcomes in all areas of...

photo of young boy playing with a pink doll's house to illustrate article on why diverse and inclusive toys are important

Why diverse and inclusive toys are important

Albert Einstein famously said that play is the highest form of research. Play is how young children learn about the world and make sense of it. The information children collect through play informs...

montage of book covers showing the best books for teaching children kindness

Best books for teaching children kindness

Books are a fantastic tool for teaching children kindness because they help children see the world through someone else’s eyes. They also provide clear illustrations for younger children on...

Photo of book cover of How Are You Feeling Now by Molly Potter

How Are You Feeling Now? Interview with children’s author Molly Potter

Molly Potter is a best-selling children’s author whose books help parents and children talk about feelings and other tricky topics. I’m a huge fan of her books, so I was delighted to have...

montage of 8 children's books about shyness

10 Children’s books about shyness

Reading books with children is a great way to start conversations about topics they might find difficult. Whether you have a shy child or just want to help your confident child develop empathy,...

montage of six children's books about financial hardship

Children’s books about financial hardship

With the current cost of living crisis, many parents are having difficult conversations with children about money. Explaining financial hardship to children isn’t easy as young children find it...

photo of a young boy and girl playing together to illustrate article on helping young children make friends

Helping young children make friends

Helping young children make friends involves some thoughtful conversations and as many opportunities for learning and practice as possible. Here are some practical tips for parents of little ones to...

Managing difficult behaviour when you’re out and about

“I really struggle with getting my 4 year old to leave the park. I give her lots of warnings but when the time comes she refuses to leave. Sometimes she runs away or I end up almost dragging...

Photo of girl with a lollipop to illustrate article 'What is an accidental reward in parenting?'

What is an accidental reward?

Children are active participants in their own learning and development. One of the ways they learn is through action and reaction – through the direct consequences of their actions. If their...

Photo of mum touching her daughter's face to illustrate article on the role of touch in child development

The role of touch in child development

There are lots of concerns about the impacts of social distancing on children’s development. Parents are reporting their children have become more germ phobic as a result of Covid anxieties....

photos of book covers with play ideas for busy parents in article by parenting expert Anita Cleare

Play ideas for busy parents

Let’s face it, the pandemic has been more than a little challenging for working parents with young children. What with homeschooling and lockdowns and blurred boundaries between work and home,...

photo of children playing to illustrate article on supporting your child's development by parenting expert Anita Cleare

101 ideas for supporting your child’s development

We all want our children to do well – at school and in life – and to reach their full potential. But battling over homework and bribing them to complete extra maths booklets isn’t...

Best books to teach children social skills: photo of 'I'll Wait, Mr Panda book cover

Best books to teach children social skills (2-7yrs)

The absolute best way for children to learn social skills is through practice. Young children needs lots of opportunities to play with other kids – older, younger and the same age. There will...

Books for talking to children about emotions: picture of 'The Way I Feel' front cover

10 Books for talking to children about emotions

It takes time for children to learn to recognise and manage their feelings. Talking to children about emotions can help this process. Talking is usually best done when everyone is calm and no-one...

Finger breathing: how to calm anxious children (by Anita Cleare) - photo of hands

Finger breathing – how to calm anxious children

If you have ever tried to tell a young child who is in the grip of a big emotion to “Calm down,” you will know that often doesn’t work. Children need much more concrete strategies...

Susie Robbins gives ideas for growing resilience through play (picture of kids climbing tree)

Growing resilience through play (by Susie Robbins)

This is a guest post by Susie Robbins There is a lovely saying that I regularly repeat to my children: “Mistakes are proof that you have tried.” When we make mistakes, it is easy to give...

photo of girl with hand in front of mouth, children's books on lying article

Children’s books on lying

Lying is an issue that every parent comes up against at some time or other. All children experiment with lying (see Why do children lie?). That’s perfectly normal and – although it can be...

indoor play ideas for children

Low cost no-prep indoor play ideas for young children

Getting outside with children is great for their development as well as for overall family well-being. But there are times when it just can’t be done. So, before you start tearing your hair out...

child playing outdoors in wet weather wearing wellington boots - ideas for outdoor play

12 ideas for outdoor play when it’s cold or wet

Getting outside is great for everyone’s well-being. And children love the outdoors because it’s always changing – every time you step outside your front door is a little different...

PANTS poster

Talking PANTS with your children

Lots of parents worry about stranger danger. We are bombarded by media stories about sex offenders and it can feel like the danger of abuse is lurking around every corner. But keeping our children...

two young boys making faces to illustrate article on theory of mind

How can parents support children’s ‘Theory of Mind’?

‘Theory of Mind’ is the label psychologists give to a young child’s growing awareness that other people have thoughts, feelings and intentions that might be different from their...

cheeky faced child, why don't children just do what they're asked?

Why don’t children just do what they’re asked?

A few thoughts on why children don’t always co-operate when you ask them to do something! If you are struggling with your child’s behaviour, check out our online parenting course and...

Positive parenting: ignoring children’s misbehaviour

As parents, the most powerful tool we have in our parenting toolbox is our attention. Children tend to repeat behaviour that gets our attention. So, logically, doing the opposite and ignoring...

What is free play and why is it important?

There has been a lot in the press recently about the role of digital technology in children’s lives and whether kids are becoming addicted to screens and smart phones. There is no doubt that...

Montage of children's books to help children cope with change

Books to help children cope with change

Change can be difficult for children. Children’s life experiences are much more limited than ours so they may not have learnt strategies for facing change confidently. And they often...

Top 10 starting school books: photo of 'Boris Starts School'

Top 10 starting school books (for preparing children for school)

Getting ready to start school has very little to do with the alphabet and lots to do with practical and emotional preparation (see School readiness skills for pre-schoolers). Their first day at...

Top tips for growing babies’ brains

Babies are born with almost all the neurons in their brains that they will need as adults. Their first developmental task is to start linking those neurons together to form the neural circuits that...

Teaching children to share: FAQs

If I had a penny for every time I have been asked about teaching children to share, I would be a very rich parenting expert indeed! It is one of the first post-babyhood problems that parents of...

The importance of school readiness skills for preschoolers

Contrary to popular belief, being able to read, write or do arithmetic are the least important skills that a pre-schooler needs in order to be ready to start school. In fact, only 4% of teachers rate...