Mr Hodgson's Page
Welcome. This page contains some of my personal thoughts on parenting, and getting the most out of school. I’m a parent myself, and although my children are older now, I still remember the challenges of the primary school years.
Everything here is common sense, and I’m sure that many of you will be doing these things already. However, if you get one good idea from reading this, then it’s worth it.
Children learn best when they are prepared for school, and a big part of that is breakfast. Making sure that they have eaten something nutritious at the start of the day that’s going to last them until lunchtime really helps children to concentrate. At West Green Maths and English is usually taught in the morning and so children need to be alert to take it all in.
I’m wary of giving advice about nutrition here, but let’s just say that a high-sugar diet is unhelpful for concentration, and leave it at that. Thankfully both my children liked Weetabix which seems to last a bit longer than Coco Pops.
Bedtime, Sleep and Screens
Screens, how we love them! Adults and children alike. I remember when my daughter first got her Nintendo DS and I could not get her off the thing. There were tantrums and screams. My wife and I persisted though, and eventually introduced a timetable of ‘screen time’. It was tough to stick to, but I’m sure that she would not have done as well at school if we hadn’t kept going with it.
It’s a curious thing how children can be so different. My son couldn’t care less about phones, tablets etc… He’d rather be outside building something.
Anyway, one useful bit of information to know is that research has shown that screens mimic the blue light that our bodies recognise as daylight. They are basically ‘telling us’ to stay awake! For that reason it’s a good idea to stop using screens an hour before bedtime, to give our body the chance to adjust to the idea that it is night.
Of course, during the summer months it can be light outside when younger children go to bed. At home I always put blackout curtains in the children’s rooms to help them feel that it was night-time when they went to bed.
Bedtime is a great time to share a story of course, and children of all ages can enjoy a bit of quality time with a parent by sharing a good book.
Wow, isn’t childhood an emotional time? Parents and teachers alike get to share in the highs and lows of children’s lives. For me there’s nothing better than going down to Reception class and spending some time with children having fun to make my day a bit better. Children have so much happiness to share, especially when they are young.
Have you ever thought about the fact that we all have the same emotions? Boredom, fear, grief, anger, happiness and so on? Where do they come from? Do we learn them or are they ‘built in’?
One thing is for certain, the emotions that we experience certainly have an effect on those around us. Children need to be supported and guided into arriving at school in the right emotional state to learn.
An unhappy child does not learn. An angry child does not learn. Can you remember the last time you tried to explain your point of view to someone who was angry? Did it work?
Children learn best when they are calm and focussed. Of course we all have days when we can’t find the school shoes, or we’ve had some bad news, but on the whole you really are doing your children a favour if you do all you can to get them to school feeling calm and ready to learn.
Walk the Walk and Talk the Talk
Talking to your children is so important. My two were always asking me about things as they were growing up. What’s this for? What does this mean? Why do we do this? Having that discussion with your child can really help them to develop a larger vocabulary and an understanding of the world around them.
Parents are a child’s first and most important teacher. They learn so much from us, and watch what we do all the time. I feel that one of my successes as a parent came from making time to go places and do things with my children, allowing the time they wanted to explore and learn. Its easy to underestimate a trip to the park or a train journey, but there’s a lot to learn if you just look for it.
Good luck! I know you have a tough job and I respect each and every one of you for doing it. I value the partnership that we build between parent, child and school. Let’s make it a strong one!