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How to parent smarter not harder.

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....

Photo of baby to illustrate podcast on introducing a new baby to your family by parenting expert Anita Cleare

Introducing a new baby to your family

I am frequently asked for advice on the best tactics for introducing a new baby. Many parents worry about how they will cope with the added demands of a new baby and how a sibling’s arrival...

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: phot 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

8 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...

Socially distanced games: ideas!

Please do adhere to local social distancing regulations at the time of reading this! Not being able to play with friends has been tough for children during the coronavirus lockdown. Young children...

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. And, with the current Covid-19 coronavirus...

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...

photo of Josefina Garcia holding up a picture to a young girl

Tips for teaching young children a second language (by Josefina Garcia)

I get asked lots of questions by parents who are either raising their children to be bilingual or teaching them a second language. Since it’s not an area of my expertise, I asked Josefina...

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...

Books to help children cope with change - image of 'No Matter What' book cover

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...

Gender neutral parenting: doomed to fail?

Is it possible to raise girls and boys in a gender neutral way without the influence of gender stereotypes? What can parents do to counter gender bias in children’s lives? Here are a few...

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...

Separation anxiety

It is very normal for young children to experience separation anxiety when being left by a parent. Separation anxiety tends to emerge at about 8-12 months old and can be very intense (especially...

books for preparing toddlers for new babies - photos of book covers

Books for preparing toddlers for new babies

Books are a great tool for preparing toddlers for new babies. There is so much about babies that toddlers can’t anticipate and sustaining a sensible focused conversation with a toddler is...

picture of kid's reward charts

Making reward charts work

Reward charts are a fantastic positive parenting tool for encouraging the behaviour you want from your children. Whether it’s helping out around the house, being polite or using the...

Becoming a mother: my story

For me, becoming a mother was like being hit by a bus. I knew there was a baby coming and that babies were full-on and hard work but I was not expecting the complete shift in my identity that I...

Preparing your child for a new baby

A new baby means big changes for the whole family. Second (or third) time around, you’ve got a pretty good idea what’s coming. But your toddler has no idea what’s about to hit them...

How can I help my child sleep through the night?

Your question My four-year-old son wakes up at night and comes into our room. I’ve tried taking him back to his own bed but he just comes back again. If I let him sleep in our bed he wriggles and...

Toddlers’ brains: how toddlers think

Toddlers’ brains are only half-finished. As a result, toddlers think in fundamentally different ways from adults. For toddlers, the impossible is just as likely to be true and the laws of...