Tying shoelaces, whistling and using cutlery are the hardest things to teach young children – according to a poll of parents.
Faced with tantrums, short attention spans and spending so much time indoors, a study of 2,000 mums and dads has revealed the skills they’ve found, or are finding, trickiest to pass on.
Learning to ride a bike is the fourth most challenging activity to teach, followed by how to tell the time and how to button a button.
Helping their children learn to swim, to brush their teeth, to try different foods and to successfully write their name rounded off the top 10.
Commissioned by PACEY, the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years, the study also found 83 per cent of parents take pride in helping their kids develop – despite the challenges.
Liz Bayram, PACEY chief executive, said: “Children would ordinarily be going back to childcare or school right now, but instead they are facing more time at home – they’re limited in the activities they can do so they’re likely to be bored or feeling frustrated.
“Helping children with all these important skills is not easy for parents – especially at the moment.
“To support parents, we are releasing a range of wonderful free resources created by childcarers and education experts.
“We hope they will give parents ideas to keep children interested and inspired at this challenging time.
“For those children who will be starting school in September, the summer term is a crucial time for parents and childcarers to prepare children for school.
“Our website has lots of resources to help with this important transition.“
Other skills parents find tricky to teach include potty training, getting dressed, putting toys away and explaining the difference between left and right.
Mastering the alphabet isn’t easy either – and neither is showing them how to count money or teaching them to cross the road safely.
Maths is also an area which comes with a host of challenges for parents – how to add up and how to count to 10 and 20 have proved to be major tests for those polled.
Likewise, introducing children to domestic chores isn’t always straightforward.
Getting their little ones to successfully put dirty clothes in the washing basket is a challenge for mums and dads up and down the country.
Showing them how to set the table and how to wash dishes are no mean feat either – and neither is getting them to help with the cooking.
The PACEY study, carried out through OnePoll, found 78 per cent of parents are amazed at just how quickly young children develop and learn new things.
Liz Bayram added: “There is so much pressure on parents right now.
“We want to reassure parents that every child is unique and will develop skills at different times.
“Try not to compare children with their siblings or friends – some adults still struggle with things like whistling and riding a bike.
“Parents are going through such a lot at the moment and need to be kind to themselves – no one can be a full-time teacher, parent and worker all at once.
“Having fun with your children is the best way of helping them learn some great new skills while you are all home together.”
The free resources for parents are available at www.pacey.org.uk/learning-at-home
TOP 40 – HARDEST THINGS TO TEACH KIDS
1. Tying shoelaces
3. Eating with cutlery
4. Riding a bike
5. How to tell the time
6. Buttoning a button
7. How to swim
8. Brushing their teeth
9. Trying different foods
10. Writing their name
11. Putting toys away
12. How to blow your nose
13. Tying up hair
14. Getting dressed
15. Washing hair
16. Making a bed
17. Putting dirty clothes in a laundry basket
18. Learning parents’/home phone number
19. Colouring inside the lines
20. Learning to tell your left from right
21. Sharing things with other children
22. How to count money
23. Zipping a zip
24. Using a potty / toilet
25. How to cross the road safely
26. Learning their home address
27. Adding numbers
28. Doing a forward roll
29. Counting to 20
30. Swinging on a park swing
31. Helping with cooking
32. How to wash dishes
33. How to load / unload dishwasher
34. Counting to 10
36. Knowing the alphabet
37. Washing face
38. How to set the table
39. Washing hands
40. Riding a scooter