Hug your children, parents urged
Parents should give their children "lots of hugs", play games and ensure youngsters get enough sleep, according to new advice from headteachers.
They are also urging families to eat dinner together and make time for homework, reading and talking.
The advice is contained in a new leaflet published by the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) and Family Action, and comes amid concerns that parents need to take more responsibility for making sure their children are ready to learn when they arrive at school each day.
Pressures on family life mean that high numbers of children are turning up for lessons tired and hungry, and going home to families that do not have routines, or adults that help with youngsters' learning, the organisations warned. They said many parents were not aware of how important they were in making sure their child was ready for school.
The two organisations are set to announce details of their new partnership at the NAHT's annual conference in Birmingham this weekend, along with plans to develop a series of leaflets to encourage parents to work with teachers.
The first leaflet, on school readiness, tells parents that it is "really important to talk to your child and listen to them." It adds: "Finding time for both can be so difficult with busy lives!"
The leaflet warns that too many late bedtimes can make it harder for children to learn, and they need sleep to be able to concentrate in school. Under-fives need up to 15 hours, primary school children 10 hours, and older youngsters need nine hour sleep, it said. The two organisations said the new campaign aimed to help boost attainment in schools.
NAHT president Bernadette Duffy said: "All school leaders know the important role that parents play in ensuring their children come to school ready to learn.
"Some of the advice in the leaflets may seem obvious but for some parents ,especially those who did not receive the advice from their own parents that many families take for granted, getting clear and simple guidance can help them focus on what they need to do to help their children get the best from their education."
David Holmes, chief executive of Family Action, said: "Relatively simple things that every parent can do such as making sure children get a good night's sleep, eat a healthy breakfast and just talking to children about their day at school can be a hugely important part of getting them ready to learn. We are looking forward to working with NAHT to emphasise these important messages to parents."