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10 things every parent should do

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A dad and his daughter reading together
Bringing up kids is a combination of a lot of fun and a lot of hard work. But if you're worried about what you're meant to be teaching your kids, we've come up with 10 things you really ought to do to make sure they get the best start in life

1. Make a will

If you and your partner die without a will, the authorities will manage your assets, and they won't necessarily go to your kids. You also need to appoint guardians. You don't need a solicitor to make a will, see www.desktoplawyer.co.uk for more info.

2. Read books with your children

There are so many benefits to reading to your children: It expands their vocabulary, fires their imaginations and may even help them do better at school. It doesn't have to be expensive, either, visit your local library.

3. Visit ageing relatives

When my baby was 10 weeks old, we visited my husband's grandma. She died unexpectedly two weeks later, and it was a huge comfort to us to have introduced her to her latest great-grandchild. It's easy to let years pass without visiting but it means so much and your family can learn a lot from spending time with older generations.

4. Eat at the table

Your kids learn about table manners from watching you and family mealtimes are an opportunity to talk about your day. Your kids might even eat more or try things they wouldn't normally. It may not be possible every day, but aim for once a week or weekend lunches instead.

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5. Make time for each other

It's important for kids to have one-on-one time with each parent when they don't have to compete for attention. Try Saturday 'treat time': one child chooses an activity, swimming or the cinema, with one parent, while the others spend time together at home, then they swap the following weekend.

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