Tips and advice

  • Singing with your child is a great way for them to hear lots of words and sounds.


  • Children love to hear the same songs over and over again.


  • Make singing fun by using lots of actions and different voices.


  • Children love it when you make up your own songs based on the things they like.


  • It’s fun to make free musical instruments out of everyday objects like saucepans and spoons or plastic bottles filled with dry pasta or rice.


  • Not everyone feels confident to sing but do not worry children do not mind how tuneful you are they will just be happy that you are spending quality time with them.


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  • Look at the pictures in books and talk to your child about what you can see.


  • Children love to hear their favourite stories over and over again.


  • Share bedtime stories, this helps children to relax and they love the extra cuddles.


  • Encourage your child to turn the pages and point to the things they recognise. Help them learn the names of things in the book.


  • Make reading fun! Use different voices and act out the story.


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  • Hold your child close when you sing and talk to them.


  • Sit your child on your knee when you look at books together.


  • Respond quickly and reassure them during the day with a smile, high five, tickle or cuddle.


  • Hold hands with your child when you are walking in the park.


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  • Speech and language therapists recommend that children do not use a dummy after the age of 1 year. Remember gone by 1.


  • Before you give your child a dummy, try to work out why they are crying. They may need changing or feeding or might just need a cuddle.


  • If your child does have a dummy, never let them talk with it in.


  • When your child is busy or playing take their dummy away.


  • Make giving up a dummy a positive experience by sending it to Santa/Dummy Fairy, giving it to a new baby or swapping it for a new toy.


  • It might not be easy at first but once the dummy has gone do not give it back to your child and make sure that there are no other dummies for them to find. Try another way of comforting them, i.e. give me a cuddle.


  • Parents often worry about thumb sucking replacing dummies. Thumb sucking is very common and usually children stop sucking their thumb by the age of 5 years. Thumb sucking does not cause long term damage to milk teeth and is less likely to affect speech and language development.


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  • When you are out and about with your child, talk about the things around them.


  • While you are doing things around the house let them join in and talk about what you are doing. E.g. take the plates to the table, put the washing in the washer, give them a brush and pan.


  • When on a walk, go on a bug hunt and see what you can find. Ask your child what they can see. Do they know the names of the bugs? What colour are they? How many legs do they have?


  • Make a shopping list with your child and talk about the items as you walk around the shop. Why not create picture lists for your child and ask them to find the items on the list.


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  • You are better than any toy!


  • Talk to your child about what is happening when you are out and about. E.g. when puddle jumping in the park, say ‘splish, splash, splosh’ or ‘ready, steady, jump!’


  • Let your child help you with the washing, the cleaning or the shopping. Give them time to copy you. Tell them the names of objects and talk about what you are doing together.


  • When you are in the car or on the bus, talk about what you can see. Play a game to see who can spot a tree, a dog or a house.


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  • Make eye contact with your child when you are talking. This helps you to pay attention and shows that you are listening.


  • Play peek-a-boo with your child when you are changing their nappy.


  • Have your child facing you when they are in the pushchair. Talk about things you see when you are out and about.


  • Hold things your child likes next to your face to encourage them to give you eye contact

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  • To get your child’s attention, come down to their level and ask them to look at you.


  • Make funny faces for your child to copy e.g. stick your tongue out and they will try to copy what you are doing.


  • If your child is playing on the floor, sit on the floor with them and join in.


  • When your child is trying to tell you something, look at them so they know you are listening.


  • Try sitting opposite your child and roll a ball back and forth. Say “ready, steady, go.”


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  • Your child finds it easier to talk and play if you switch the TV off.


  • The best way for your child to learn is by playing and talking with you. You are better than any gadget.


  • When your child gets home from nursery or school, talk to them about what they have done, rather than watching TV.


  • When the TV or a video is on, try to watch it together so you can discuss what is happening.


  • Turn the TV off if no-one is watching it. Constant background noise can slow your child’s language development.


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  • It is a great advantage to speak more than one language and this is normal across the world.


  • Talk to your child in the language you are most comfortable with and this does not have to be English.


  • If children can talk confidently in their home language, learning a new language will be easier.


  • By learning their home language, children will be able to talk to everyone in their family and community grandparents, aunties, uncles, etc.


  • It is fun to look at books and sing songs and rhymes in your home language because it is familiar.


  • Do not worry if your child can not speak English when they start school. They will learn by listening and watching others. Let them hear English when you are out and about but do not force them to speak it.



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