Xmas tips for helping children catch up

Xmas tips for helping children catch up

With disrupted schooling due to Covid many parents are keen to ensure their children haven’t fallen too far behind…

Basic reading and numeracy are the two most important things that children should be competent in, especially before they go up to secondary school.

Here are a few tips that will enable parents to help their children.

Firstly with reading

A parent should ask a child to read to them on a daily basis. Remove their phones, take away their computer games, turn off the TV and listen to them read.

The reading level ought to be where they are – or just above their level. This will give parents the opportunity to correct pronunciation and explain new or tricky words.

As well as reading to a parent, a child ought to read for pleasure each day.

This is a discipline a parent can structure into a child’s daily programme – and I know it’s not always easy.

It is helpful for the child to keep a bookmark and write on it the words they don’t understand.

As soon as there is a list of ten words it is time to look them up in a dictionary.

Looking up each word as they come to them is too disruptive and spoils the enjoyment of the story.

Parents should read a book to a child every night. Children love to be read to just before they go to sleep.

It is a wonderful way to finish the day and strengthen the bond between child and parent.

There is also the opportunity to read a book that is far more challenging and which the child cannot read for themselves.

Reading a story to a child will stimulate their imagination, broaden their understanding of the world, improve their vocabulary and aid their concentration.

There is a huge body of evidence that proves the value of reading.

One study shows that reading enjoyment is more important for children’s educational success than their family’s socio-economic status.

Tips on numeracy

Ensure the child is solid on all their tables up to 12. They should be able to respond immediately to a question such 7 x 8 with the answer 56. Well done if you got it!

Repetition will drive home these most basic but useful of calculations – they can be applied to almost anything and children won’t even know they’re learning.

Try and integrate maths into different activities during the day – the more they are exposed to it the quicker they will learn.

Board games much as Snakes and Ladders, Ludo and Frustration can be useful tools to help young children grasp the concept of counting.

Practice the four rules of number – addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

Applying the four rules of number to decimals and fractions is important too. In the end a child should be able to add, subtract, multiply and divide decimals and fractions.

Learn how to do percentages and work with ratios – again these can be applied to situations in everyday life.

Maths helps build mental discipline, logic, reasoning and problem-solving skills.

Without it children will find other subjects – such as the sciences – extremely difficult.