Parents are being told they should not swear, shout or smoke in front of their children in a new leaflet drawn up by head teachers and a leading charity.
In addition, they should tell them that they love them every day as they pack them off to school.
The advice is contained in a new leaflet drafted jointly by the National Association of Head Teachers and the charity Family Action, and is being distributed to all the NAHT’s 28,500 members to pass on to parents.
In a section on relationships, it says parents should “tell your child that you love them every day” and “be a positive role model for your child: don’t shout and swear in front of them. It is rarely effective”.
The guide goes on to say that parents should praise their children’s efforts as well as achievements, tell them it’s okay to make mistakes and that, if they have done something wrong, they should focus on doing things better next time.
Children, it adds, should help prepare family meals to teach them about food, be encouraged to follow a balanced diet and exercise for at least 30 minutes a day.
“Teach your child not to give up and keep trying,” it adds. “When things are difficult help your child to see it as part of life and learning and that it happens to all of us.”
In a section on looking after your body, it urges regular check-ups with the optician and the dentist as well as frequent health checks and immunisations.
“Modern life is so highly pressured for parents that it can be easy to forget to do the little things that can make a real difference to a child’s self-esteem,” said Bernadette Hunter, president of the NAHT.
“For instance, sometimes we assume our children know that we love them but children need to hear the words. If children feel happy and healthy at home then they come into the classroom free from worries and ready to learn.”
David Holmes, chief executive of Family Action, added: “If the practical advice in this simple leaflet makes a parent pause for just a second and reflect on the wellbeing of their child then it will have done a good job.”