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Prepare Your Child for School

Prepare Your Child for School: how to make sure your child gets off to a flying start. By Dr Helen Likierman and Dr Valerie Muter. Vermilion pound;8.99

Early years staff will tell you how many of their new children can't do the simple things that were once absorbed in the home from a family that usually included a grandparent. It's not just a matter of skills, such as managing the toilet, tying shoelaces and eating with cutlery. It's to do with sharing, listening, speaking, playing; just getting on with others.

That's why the advice in this book is useful and necessary.

Thankfully, it starts by rejecting any notion of "hothousing". "Preparing your child for school is not about increasing her IQ or teaching her to read and write," it says, before going on to define and tackle a range of basic skills under such headings as "Self-care", "Behaviour", "Play", "Language". It's quite a long book, at over 300 pages, and you wonder whether it'll appeal to all its target audience. Nevertheless, it's a good one to recommend to parents who are keen to support their children; not just the ones who don't know where to start, but those who seem to be in danger of overdoing things.

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