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My Diary For 2023

Every year I write a blog post about which diary system or set up I am going to use for the following twelve months. In recent years, I have moved away from a Filofax (I trialled something earlier this year - more of that in a minute) and fallen in love with the Hobonichi printed diaries. For the last two years I have used a Hobonichi Weeks as my personal planner and I won't be deviating from that this year. I have tried a Hobonichi Techo A6 a couple of times but have never managed to feel comfortable with it size-wise.  I have always lusted after the Hobonichi Cousin A5 as a main work planner so, this year, I have bitten the bullet at launch time and invested in my very first one. Hobonichi Weeks The Hobonichi Weeks is a slim diary with a yearly, monthly and weekly layout. The main section is a "week to view with notes" and there are an additional 70 note pages at the back. This year (2022) I used the "Mega" version which comes with almost three times as m

Helping Your Child with their Social Skills



Well established social skills will benefit your child throughout their life. These skills can help children to build up their confidence, form friendships at school and even help to open up future career opportunities.

Some children are naturally very sociable, while others need a helping hand to build these invaluable skills. There are many ways in which parents can support their children in developing their social skills and Surbiton High School is here to help with the following advice…


  1. Starting conversations with new people can be difficult for some children. To help your child feel more confident about speaking to others, it can be useful to prepare a few conversation starters. These could include some really simple compliments or questions, such as 'I like your hair’ or 'what is your favourite sport?'
  2. School playgrounds are busy and loud with outdoor toys for kids and can often feel overwhelming to children. It can be helpful for quieter children if parents arrange a play date at home with some of their classmates. This will help your child to make friends in a familiar setting, where they may feel more relaxed and confident.
  3. Parents should try to set a good example for their children by demonstrating effective social skills with others. It is important that you are a good role model for your child. Be aware of how you talk to others and try to demonstrate good social skills and manners for your child to replicate. Teach your child to be polite and to offer help to those in need. It is also helpful to explain how to hold a conversation and stress the importance of listening to others when they are speaking. 
  4. Where possible, try to take a step back and allow your child to work out issues alone. Disputes with friends are common at school and learning how to resolve these issues alone is an important life-skill, which will help to grow their confidence. If you make a mistake or have a disagreement with your child, be sure to apologise later on and discuss your feelings together to understand how you can avoid a similar situation in the future.
  5. Encourage your child to take up some extra-curricular activities, such as sports or drama. Extra-curricular activities are a great way to boost your child’s self-confidence and develop their social skills. This is because they will be exploring a new environment and meeting new people. Your child may also have the opportunity to develop their problem solving and teamwork skills.
  6. Finally, helping your child to develop their social skills isn't simply to teach them to follow rules and remember their manners, but to inspire them to think for themselves, and learn to understand feelings; both their own and those of others. By discussing feelings and emotions with your child you can help them to learn techniques for coping with them, which will benefit them throughout their lives.