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Learning to read is vital for most of what comes after in school (and the rest of your life!) but it can sometimes feel like a chore. Neurologist Dr Judy Willis offers her top tips for making the process as smooth and pleasurable as possible.

Kids at school

Children do better at school if their parents are involved in their education. That means taking an interest in what they’re doing academically – but it also means creating conditions that help them... here are some suggestions.

School stairs

It pays to be prepared for parents' evenings...

Minecraft is phenomenally popular, especially with primary school children. Sometimes described as Lego for the digital age, it is absorbing, creative and educational - but, as with any online activity, it's as well to be aware of the basics of staying safe. Here's our guide to helping your child make the most of Minecraft.

In just a few years, Minecraft has become one of the world's most popular games, mainly by word of mouth and despite the lack of a big marketing budget or a major organisation behind it. Already a hot topic of conversation in the playground, Minecraft is now moving into the classroom, as teachers increasingly find ways to use the game for educational purposes. Here's the lowdown for parents. 

Cyberbullying

Alex Holmes, the Diana Award anti-bullying programme manager, was previously a victim of bullying and now runs the anti-bullying ambassadors programme. In this video, he explains what cyberbullying is, why it hurts - and what you can do about it.

Bullying

Alex Holmes, anti-bullying manager for the Diana Awards, offers advice on how to recognise bullying and what to do if your child is affected.

Reaching out

Alex Holmes, anti-bullying programme manager for the Diana Award, outlines some useful things to do if your child is being bullied.

Group selfie

Even world leaders take selfies... In this video, Vicki Shotbolt of The Parent Zone talks about the hazards of online flirting via photos - and what to tell your child.

Porn button

Pornography is more available than ever before, thanks to the internet. It can also be a hideously embarrassing subject to broach with your child. In this video, CEOP's Jonathan Baggaley offers some tips for opening non-awkward discussions.

Crayon drawing

In this video, Claire Usiskin from YoungMinds talks about warning signs to look out for if you're concerned about your child's mental health - and what to do.

Silhouette

Is depression a fact of teenage life? What are the signs of depression and what can you do if you're concerned that your child may be depressed? Young Minds' Lucy Maddox offers some advice.

Good mental health

What does good mental health look like when it comes to young people?

Houses of Parliament

Are mental health problems rising in children and young people? And is the internet to blame? An influential committee of MPs calls for more support for mental illness among the young.

Black cloud

When young people admit to having mental health problems, parents often blame themselves. There is still stigma and shame attached to this kind of illness, despite the fact that it's so common. But early diagnosis and treatment have been shown to work so it's important for parents to be open and supportive. Blaming yourself - or anyone else - doesn't help.

Advice to parents on how much screen time small children should have has changed - basically, from 'none' to 'it's OK to have some.' Here are our commonsensical top tips on how to manage infants' screen time to make sure they develop healthily and happily without making life impossible for you.

digital infants

You don't stop educating your children once they've learnt their phonics. They need to move up to understanding the meaning of what they're reading. In the same way, once your child is online and you're filtering and monitoring in the right way for their age, there's still a job to do. Here's a useful breakdown of what it means to be digitally literate, with some good news for parents.

Digital parenting

Top tips on staying up-to-date with what your children are doing online.

Children at screens

We're always hearing about 'digital natives' as if all young people are happily at home on the internet, knowing where to find all the good things, how to avoid the hazards and partying happily together. But what if most young people were just as anxious and lost as their parents? The experts think that's much closer to the truth...

Computer gaming

Do you sometimes feel your child is sharing not just too much information, but the wrong kind of information? Do you worry that their adolescent attitudes are going to hang over them for the rest of their lives? How do you talk to them about the identity they're creating with their friends - and how the internet makes that visible to everyone?

Connected

Researchers have been studying how children use smartphones, tablets and computers across Europe. So are children addicted to their phones? And how many have experienced cyberbullying? We have (some of) the answers...

Image changed through glasses to sunset and coloured sky

You can't shield your child from every risk in the online world, any more than you can offline. So how do you help them to be digitally literate (what does that even mean?) And what kind of parenting approach is most likely to help them stay safe?

The big move up to secondary school is a bit scary - so what if they're still not settling in after a few weeks? Here are our tips on how to support them through the common teething problems.

Ask.fm

Ask.fm is anonymous and has been known to lead to cyberbullying and taunting. Here is CEOP’s guide to Ask.fm in a series of FAQs for parents.

Social media

‘Teens turn to, and are obsessed with whichever environment allows them to connect to friends. Most teens aren’t addicted to social media; if anything, they’re addicted to each other.’

There's been quite a lot of interest recently in monitoring apps, which allow you to track your child, alerting you to where they are and what they're doing. Sounds like a brilliant idea, no? But experts warn you should think twice before putting your child under surveillance. We look at the pros and cons.

Relationships

What is an abusive relationship? How do you spot when someone is trying to exercise too much control over you? And how to warn your child against relationships that are going to hurt them?

Broken black crayon, stick man drawing

The reality of abuse is rarely like the high-profile cases we hear about on the news. The Lucy Faithfull Foundation busts a few of the myths. 

People walking through woods

It's hard to think about the possiblity that someone we know might be an abuser or that a child may be being abused. But there are warning signs that can alert us to potentially abusive people and it's as well to be aware of them. Donald Findlater of the Lucy Faithfull Foundation explains what they are. 

Splitting

When parents split up, they have to agree the contact arrangements for children. The Coram Children's Legal Centre outlines acceptable practice for contact, what to do when things go wrong, and some tips for making contact work for everyone.

Broken key

More than 120,000 families with dependent children separated in 2014. Roughly half of those couples who split were married and the other half were previously cohabiting.

People symbols

Residency is the legal term for where children live when their parents have split up. The Coram Children's Legal Centre answers some FAQs about living arrangements, formal and informal.

What can you do if your child is talking online to someone they don't know in the real world and you're suspicious? What if you think they're being asked to do things, share images, encouraged to meet? CEOP - the Child Exploitation and Online Protection command of the National Crime Agency and one of the partners behind Parent Info - is the answer. This is how and where to report your concerns.

Technology

What are children really seeing online? Do parental filters work? Our stats may surprise you...

Homework

Research shows that children do better at school if their parents are involved in their education. When parents show interest, exam results tend to improve – so what's the best way to take an interest without putting them off completely?

Stormy weather family

CEOP's tips for ways to start a conversation with your teenager – and where to take it after that.

Rainbow steps

Is your child uncertain about their sexuality? Are you half-expecting some big 'coming out' announcement? Richard Essery of Brook offers advice for parents on how to respond.

Body image

Being positive about eating and what people look like (and yes, we're afraid that means your own body, too) can make an enormous difference to how your child feels about their own appearance. Here are our guidelines for what (and what not) to do.

Elephant friends

There's some good news about young people's health (teen pregnancies down, smoking, drinking and drug taking down) but some not-so-good news (obesity and mental health problems up). A new report from Public Health England says that young people's mental and physical health are closely connected - and that relationships are the key to their health and wellbeing.

Dog with iPad

Too many children have memories of dull ICT lessons acquiring skills that will probably be outdated by the time they start work. But the new computing curriculum, introduced this school year, is a really exciting (and world-leading) development. Simon Humphreys of Computing at School explains why.

Playing cards

Is gambling an addiction like drugs? And is your child at risk of becoming a problem gambler?

Children need boundaries to make them feel safe - and to push against. This is as important online as off. The Parent Zone's Sophie Linington offers some tips on digital boundary-setting.

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