Written by the creator of Tractor Ted, Alexandra Heard, Mum of three. Tractor Ted has just launched a series of new educational books and a DVD that teaches children about the countryside, British farming and where food comes from: www.TractorTed.com

Parenting on Female First

Parenting on Female First

From birth until school age, you will have been the most influential teacher in your child’s life. Your child will have learnt more during this short space of time than at any other point in his or her life. Staring school is of course a significant new chapter in yours and your child’s life but there are a few things you can do to prepare.

1. Champion the Chatterbox

Most parents think that counting and learning the alphabet are the most important skills to hone before school starts, but actually, one of the best things to master before school is the art of talking. Developing their vocabulary will help them to explain their needs and feelings when you’re not around. Share a book, chat at mealtimes or when out for a walk. Talking will of course really enrich their vocabulary, and make sure you provide your child with those all-important chances to ask lots of questions.

2. Be Little Book Worms

During their first year at school, your child will begin to learn to read so it’s important for them to realise this is a fun thing to do. Your child will naturally copy you, so if you are reading books, rather than watching television, so will they. Make reading fun by making a den indoors, cosy corner or a book bunker in the garden - be little book worms and cuddle up with some apples and a good book. Always encourage questions and talk about the pictures.

3. Classroom at Home

If you're worried your child isn't used to following instructions, introduce simple ‘lessons’ masked as activities at home, to get your child used to the idea. Practice playing games where people have to raise their hand to say something and wait for their turn to participate. If you don’t have more than one small child at home, bring in substitute school mates in the guise of teddy bears(!) You don’t have to spend much money to make things fun. Try to use fruit, vegetables and other free items from the garden or park to make learning fun.

For a range of outdoor-inspired activities, Tractor Ted has some great downloadable activities on their website.

4. Social Bunnies

When children have other familiar children to play or talk to, this will help when adjusting to the social aspects of school. If you can, arrange play dates with other children who will be in their class over the school holiday period. Whenever at pre-school groups, birthdays or gatherings, encourage your child to take part. If you know they might be a little reluctant to join in with certain activities or games such as pin the tail on the donkey, play them together at home.

5. A Trip Down Memory Lane

Talk with your child in a cheerful way about starting school. If you recall happy memories from your school days, this will reinforce positive messages about school and what’s to come. Always monitor your child’s response to chats about school. See how they respond and follow their lead, answering questions and staying neutral, ensuring you don’t overload them with too much information.

About Tractor Ted

Tractor Ted is a children’s farming character who captivates, entertains and educates young children with his exciting stories of real life farm adventures and discovery.

The series of films and books take children on a wonderful journey into the British countryside, where they can learn about big machines, how to look after animals, where our food comes from and the seasons.

Tractor Ted has just launched a series of ‘Teducation’ books and DVDs for children and parents – available from www.TractorTed.com.

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