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A Better Start Southend
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As a parent/carer, you play a crucial role in helping your little one develop the language and communication skills they need to engage with the world around them.

Are you concerned about your little one’s talking?


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English not your home language?


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What is a WellComm screen?


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What is Talking Transitions all about?


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Singing, chatting, playing and reading to, and with, your baby or toddler is important at all stages, even before they're born. Here are our ten top tips to:

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Chat As We Grow

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Sing As We Grow

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Play As We Grow

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Read As We Grow

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Chat As We Grow

Ten Top Tips for Tip Top Talking

  1. Let your little one choose the toy/follow their interests.
  2. Sit/be on the same level as your little one so they can see your face.
  3. Reduce noise levels and distractions.
  4. Use gesture and facial expression to help your little one understand what you’re saying.
  5. Follow your little one’s lead in play by mirroring their actions, and commenting.
  6. Wait longer for your little one to talk.
  7. Show that you are listening by repeating, answering or extending by adding a few extra words.
  8. Avoid using too many questions.
  9. Praise & encourage your little one when they listen and have a go at talking.
  10. Use words that are at your little one’s level of understanding.

 

Watch Chat As We Grow come to life in: ArabicBrazilian Portuguese, French, Polish

Sing As We Grow

Ten Top Tips for Singing As We Grow

  1. Don’t worry if you think you can’t sing! Your little one thinks you have the best voice in the whole world!
  2. Smile as you sing so that your little one learns to associate music with enjoyment.
  3. Singing names – Your little one can learn their name by hearing it in songs. Try putting your little one’s name for other words in songs e.g. “Twinkle, twinkle little Eddie, how I wonder what you are…”
  4. Why not have a song for waking up, sleeping, and other routines in your day. This helps your little one to understand what’s happening next .e.g. singing soothing songs or playing calm music helps your little one relax when they show are tired.
  5. Try missing a word or leaving a pause out when you sing a well-known rhyme or song. Can your little one fill it? “Twinkle, twinkle little …….”
  6. Sing songs that involve actions as the movement helps your little one to learn words, e.g. Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes; Incy Wincey Spider.
  7. Why not have a bag of objects to help your little one choose their favourite song? e.g. a star for Twinkle, Twinkle or a boat for Row, Row, Row Your Boat.
  8. Sing songs at a variety of different volumes and speeds. Try Row, Row your boat sung really quietly and slowly and then loudly and fast!!  It’s fun and a great way for your little one to begin to understand all the different ways we can use our voice!
  9. Rhythm is really important for our little ones – use musical instruments or your body to show rhythm e.g. clapping, stamping, clicking fingers. No musical instruments? Make your own using pasta/rice/pebbles in a bottle or lidded cup.
  10. Have fun with your little one singing, moving and dancing to different types of music e.g. Jazz, Pop, Country, Rock or Reggae.

Play As We Grow

Ten Top Tips for Playing As We Grow

  1. Play Away! For 5 – 10 minutes every day – little and often is best.
  2. Avoid distractions if you can! – Put your phone/tablet/laptop to one side, turn off the TV or radio and focus entirely on your little one as you play together.
  3. Sit/be on the same level as your little one as they play, so that they can see your face.
  4. Let your little one lead the play – Watch how they play with a favourite toy, it’s okay if it’s not the ‘right’ way…let them show you a ‘new way.’
  5. Mirror (or copy) what they are doing – This is good for their developing attention and listening skills and helps them feel valued.
  6. ‘Over and Over and Over again….’ – Your little one may want to return to the same toys or play experiences, so let them to do this as it’s a chance to keep practicing and to gain confidence.
  7. Don’t be tempted to ask too many questions, just play alongside your little one and let their chatter matter!
  8. Anything can be anything! – Saucepans, wooden spoons, colanders, socks and boxes are fascinating to our little ones – with a little imagination they can become anything!
  9. You can easily play with no toys at all – try ‘peek-a-boo’ or some sensory play, splashing about in the bath with bubbles.
  10. When is a chore not a bore? – Going to the shops, putting the shopping away or even sorting the laundry can become fun when it’s turned into a game.

Read As We Grow

Ten Top Tips for Reading As We Grow

  1. It’s never too early to start reading to your bump or to the youngest of babies as they will love to hear your voice, no matter how tiny they are!
  2. Try to have some special time each day when you snuggle up together, in a calm, comfortable place to enjoy a story
  3. You don’t always need to read the printed word. You can share a book by simply looking at the pictures together
  4. Don’t forget your local library. Get your little one a library card as soon as possible. Look out for Storyrhymes sessions held there and join in the fun
  5. For the littlest of little ones, lift-the-flap, fabric books or those with different textures are perfect for little hands (and mouths!) to explore
  6. When you share a story, have fun and make up silly voices. You could even use puppets, toys or props to bring the story to life!
  7. Keeping books within your little one’s reach means they can always show you when they’re ready to share a story
  8. Reading your little one’s favourite stories over and over again is fine. You’re helping your little one to remember the story, learn new words and they love that repetition
  9. Make the most of rhyme and repetition in the books you share. Can your little one spot the words that rhyme as you say them or that start with the same sounds?
  10. Help your little one to re-tell their favourite stories. It’s a great way to build their memory skills.

Find out about the communication and language milestones you can expect your child to achieve as they grow:

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0 - 12 Months

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12 - 24 Months

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24 - 36 Months

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36 - 48 Months

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Concerned about your child’s communication and language?


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