Am I a Tiger Mum?

Each evening on top of reading, (which is required by the school) E and I sit down together and I get him to practice his letter writing because I have noticed that he has not been forming his letters correctly (he’s in Year 1) and there are quite a few that he consistently gets confused with and writes back to front. We are currently on the letters “a,d and g” at the moment. He usually writes a couple of lines of each letter before moving onto a spelling test of 14 or so words.

I also have plans for him to practice writing his numbers as a lot of them are also written back to front and will also be introducing some maths too.

It got me thinking though… am I a tiger mum? Am I pushing him too hard each evening after his reading when he is probably already tired from a day at school?


 Tiger Mum: is a strict or demanding mother who pushes her children to high levels of achievement

I’d like to think that although I can be strict, I also like my boys to have fun. We love nothing more than a fun family day out, and I love watching them run around in open spaces embracing their freedom or watching a movie or playing games together. Every minute of every day is not focused just on his learning and education, and we have consciously not signed up to any after school activities and not filled our weekend diaries with any other clubs. The only thing we do take him to is swimming, for half an hour on a Saturday morning.

Hubby and I both agree that we would not push our boys into doing anything that they didn’t enjoy and would very much like them to find their own interests and pursue them if they so wish.

I was chatting to a school mum the other day, and she seemed quite surprised that I was getting E to do this extra work.

I want to be clear though – I don’t do this so that he can be at the top of his class or anything like that. I’m just aware that with 30 children in a class it must be difficult for the teacher to dedicate much one-on-one time with each child and if I don’t help my child with forming his letters correctly now, it can only be harder to correct this further down the line and will also hinder is ability to start to learn how to join his writing up.

It’s also quite nice to sit down each evening and have some one-on-one time with E. It’s the time of day where we both sit together at the table to have a chat about his day whilst doing some “work” and of course on occasions when he is tired we omit the work in favour of reading a story instead.

E has always loved soaking up information and loves learning and is generally a very curious boy with a thirst for knowledge. Perhaps I am a little “tiger mum-ish”, but in all honesty, I think we both quite enjoy having this daily time together.

Yes, I want him to do well at school but above all else – I want him to be happy.

Would you class yourself as a tiger mum? Do you do extra work with your children outside of homework?


  1. It sounds like you’ve got the balance just right! I think children should as you say be given space to pursue their own interests, but they do need to be nudged and supported too. If he enjoys learning then he probably loves this time with you, I don’t think you sound like a tiger mum at all, just one who cares! My daughter is only 11 months now, but hoping I’ll be able to find the right balance too #KCACOLS

    • Thank you – I think you’re so right. It’s definitely about finding the right balance! We don’t do any on a Friday or Saturday and during the week it’s just what we can fit in depending on tiredness!

    • Ahh thank you – it is all about finding the right balance and sometimes I do find it hard to know it if I’ve got it right!

  2. The Speed Bump

    My parents encouraged us a lot to do a lot of reading and writing before and outside of school, and I never saw them as tiger parents, but it paid off – we’ve all done really well academically, and have always been several years ahead in reading and writing at every stage. It sounds like you’re doing brilliantly, I’m hoping I’ll be able to do as well as you are when my daughter is older! #KCACOLS

    • That’s good to know! My parents were the opposite. We didn’t do anything extra work outside of school (that I remember anyway!)

    • That’s good to know – my parents were the opposite and didn’t have time to spend with us on doing any extra reading and writing as they were always busy working so I want to make a concerted effort in helping the boys as best I can and make time for it as I do think its important. x

  3. TheMummyToolbox

    I think i’m probably a tiger mum and my son is only 3 :p so maybe i’m not the best judge! I think you’re finding the right balance between fun and learning, why not help him to be better and improve? i think the alternative of having children feeling like they can’t achieve anything or learn is far more destructive! and in the long run he’ll thank you for it 🙂 #KCACOLS

  4. Random Musings

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting your child to do well, as long as doing their best is good enough. I think its great that you do extra work with him 🙂 Thanks for hosting #KCACOLS

  5. Jessica Powell

    I don’t think it’s pushing too hard – if you wanted him to write essays on Chaucer every night, maybe, but so long as it’s geared to a child’s age and abilities I think it’s fine. 🙂 Marianna is too young yet but I do worry that I’ll be pushy. I was the most stereotypical ‘swot’ as a child and just hope I’ll be able to recognise when something goes from being something she wants and is able to do, to something she sees as a horrible chore looming before her, you know? #KCACOLS

    • I think as parents we’ll be able to recognise if we are pushing our children too hard (I hope so anyway!) I’m very conscious that I don’t make it seems like a chore and at the moment he seems to enjoy it so we’ll see! x

    • I think you will recognise if you are being “pushy” if you are already worrying about it! 😉

  6. I don’t really know yet if I will be! I think it is hard to get the balance between challenging them to reach their potential and pushing too hard. I don’t think your letters are overstepping the mark, though! #KCACOLS

  7. Markus Seibert

    My boys have just started school and I already disagree with the school. Why does a reception class need homework assignments? Shouldn’t the reception class be about teaching the kids through fun and play and preparing them for what school is all about and if possible even make them like school? But hey getting back to your question I don’t think you’re a tigerMum you just want what you think is best for your child. #KCACOLS

    • I agree I also don’t think reception class need homework. We are very lucky they the school E goes to is all about learning through play. It only now he’s in Year 1 that he has weekly homework but they do read every night.

    • E didn’t get any homework in reception but does get something once a week now he is in Year 1 and they are required to read or be read to every night. I guess it depends on the ethos of the school. E’s school concentrate on learning through play which I think is great as you are right children who have just started school don’t need to be doing homework!

  8. This is a hard one for me to comment on as my children are not yet st school. I actually disagree in young children getting homework full stop. I think I would say is you know your child best and whether you think it is too much for him. #kcacols

  9. I am not a big fan of homework in general but helping your children with a specifc area is different. As long as he wants to do the work and is happy then it isn’t a problem. #KCACOLS

  10. I don’t think you are a Tiger Mum! You are just trying to help your child to learn how to do his letters. He would probably have more fun doing it with you than at school. Y1 is hard as they are not in Reception anymore and they have more homework. It is not just having fun anymore although they do a lot of fun things too. I’m of the idea that you need to guide your kids to the correct path. Getting Bella to do homework is very hard but we try our best to encourage her to do it and to have fun with it if possible. My parents were very pushy my whole life and I never thought that was bad. That actually encourage me to be better!! Thanks so much for sharing this with us and for helping me with #KCACOLS this week. I hope you enjoy co-hosting the linky this week! 🙂 xxx

    • Ahh thanks Franca – there does seem to be a big jump from reception but E doesn’t seem to phased by this so far. I think we all just try and do the best we can don’t we?

    • Thanks Franca – I have noticed a big difference in the way they are learning compared to Reception. I’m not sure if any of this is to do with having a different teacher though or just moving up to Year 1. They seem to have less one-on-one time….

  11. mommyslittleprincesses

    Tiger mum now this is a term I much prefer. Like you I too get Ella to sit down and do a bit of letter formation practice. Not only do we practice our normal lettering formation but we also practice any of the pre- cursive letter formations she has been learning at school. We also practice writing sentences and rhyming words. Ells is all for learning so she doesn’t mind practicing and while we don’t practice every day religiously she is still getting better at it all. On the days we don’t practice Ella will sit and read to Holly or they will just go off and play together . I really don’t think there is anything wrong with doing it and I always give Ella the choice. Xx #KCACOLS

  12. Wendy Hughes

    I don’t think you’re a tiger mum (what a funny expression by the way!). It is good you are helping him with his letters and numbers and if E is enjoying it then why worry? You are helping him with his education but this time is also a great opportunity for you both to chat and bond. I would say you’re more of a cat mum than a full on tiger 🙂 xx #KCACOLS

  13. reimer and ruby

    I’m the same as you do, I let Reimer practice his writing at home too apart from his homework. Is E left handed? coz Reimer is left handed and he tends to write back to front before but not anymore now after a lot of practice. I see myself as a tiger mum-ish as well, for the sake of my kids better future.

    • Yes he is left handed like me! Since I wrote this actually and because we have been practicing he has been doing this alot less now but he does still get confused with d and b!

  14. We used to get the Tubblet to do reading, some writing and a few numbers as we wanted to support the work the school was doing. She is dyslexic so needed to work a little harder to catch up. You couldn’t get less Tiger Mum than me!

  15. mummydaddymia

    I have never heard of the term ‘tiger mum’ before but I would not consider you to be one! I don’t think there is any harm in getting little ones to do a few bits after school, it definitely helps them (I was a teacher before having Mia) and if they enjoy doing it then theres no harm. My parents always made us do a bit of something every night so we will be doing the same with Mia when she goes to school 🙂

  16. Sleepingthroughyet

    I don’t think you are a ‘tiger mum’, I think it’s great that you are able to spend some time helping him. I hope to do the same with my daughter when she starts school next year if there is something she needs a bit of help with. #KCACOLS

  17. Ah I’d never learned that expression before 🙂 You are a good mum, not a tiger one 🙂 To me it sounds like you’re giving him the very best start and you’re doing it in a gentle and nurturing way. Mim x #KCACOLS

  18. NewMummy Blogger

    It sounds like you’ve got a nice balance, and no there is nothing wrong with encouraging your children, it shows you’re interested. #kcacols

  19. By the sounds of it, he enjoys that time with you too! I wouldn’t say you’re a Tiger mum, just using one on one time effectively. It’s not like you are constantly forcing him to do school work all the time! It’s about balance and you sound like you have it just right! Stop being hard on yourself 🙂 xx #KCACOLS

  20. No, I don’t you’re a tiger mum. There’s a good balance and it’s good that you have that time to spend with him and helping and do things. I am the same too, we do a lot of work outside of homework as I can my daughter is enjoying it too. xx

  21. My two are not at school yet but I like to think I’d have a similar approach to you. A part from anything it’s a good routine to get into. Further down the line they are going to need more of my time while doing their homework #KCACOLS

  22. HandMeDownBaby

    Good post. Mine aren’t school-age but we often joke about whether we’re “hot-housing” Little Miss A with her alphabet and number flash cards…but she finds it fun going through them.
    I almost think parents HAVE to be involved like this, these days, as teachers just don’t have the time to spend 1:1 with each child.
    Thanks for co-hosting #KCACOLS

    • You’re right with 30 children in a class it must be hard for the teacher to be able to help each child and give them as much attention as they need all the time. Especially if they need help with something in particular so we do need to step in and help our child!

  23. Kathy Fletcher

    I don’t think there is anything wrong at all with what you are doing. Education come from school and the home but I think there can be the assumption by some parents that the school have got it covered. The teachers need support from parents and doing what you are doing is reinforcing what they are learning in school. As my parents keep telling this age children’s brains are like sponges and will soak the information up.
    I have been doing similar with my daughter in Year 1..doing her reading, practicing her spellings each night and also basic sums up to 10 to help reinforce the number bonds to 10 which they are learning in school (she finds Maths hard). We also practice her 100 high frequency word list and the spelling of these a couple of times during the week. She is happy to do all of this and we stop what we are doing if she shows any signs of fatigue or being silly/losing focus. We don’t want it to become a chore for her, so we do it when she is in the right ‘mood’.

  24. Something Crunchy Mummy

    There’s nothing wrong in making sure your child is getting things right, your helping. #KCACOLS xx