Back in the good old days, when men exclusively used Old Spice and fish was only served on Fridays, the threat of an early bedtime without any tea was a popular form of psychological warfare.
The prospect of being sent up the wooden hill at 5.30pm before even a mouthful of faggots and peas had passed one’s lips was a surefire way to ensure that a child of the 70s or the 80s would finish their homework or help wash out the SodaStream.
How times have changed. Ask most 21st century parents how they administer domestic discipline and you will hear an array of tactics, although most will relate in some way or another to small flickering screens.
But there is plenty of hope for the future, especially when you consider that our children’s love of books is as strong as ever.
Last week, the death of the acclaimed children’s author Judith Kerr was met with an outpouring of sadness and nostalgia.
During her long career she gifted the nation with timeless classics such as The Tiger Who Came to Tea and the brilliant Mog series and it is clear that her legacy will live for many decades to come.
Her books have been required family reading for more than half a century because of their simplistic genius. Kerr’s skill was to bring magic to the mundane.
Hers are the books my parents read to me, that I still read to my children and, I am in no doubt, that my children will read to their offspring.
It is reassuring to see the effects of fantastic stories on young minds, even though there are now so many alternative forms of entertainment out there.
I get a huge kick out of the fact my kids, who are certainly no strangers to the world of tech, get as excited about a trip to the local library than they do about going to the cinema.
The bedtime ritual for our youngest is painfully drawn out as he insists on emptying his bookshelves before deciding on what tale he would like to fall asleep to, but it is a mini-drama we wouldn’t ever change.
Thank you, Judith Kerr, parents everywhere really do owe you one.