It is my great pleasure to have  Lisa Houghton and Tracey Park  who were paediatric speech and language therapists  as my guest bloggers today. They created Talking Tots  which is based on the simple idea that children who can communicate clearly and confidently have a huge head start when it comes to learning, making friends and expressing themselves.

They understand that children learn best through play, so they created a programme that combines games, songs, rhymes and fun activities to gently boost children’s communication and social skills.

 I love what they offer babies, children and families and Talking Tots is the UK’s original and favourite provider of fun, interactive classes that gently boost preschool children’s communication and social skills.

Their friendly and exciting classes can help all children develop some of life’s most important skills:

1. Concentration and attention, making learning easier
2. Self-esteem and social confidence, vital for making new friends
3. Pre-literacy skills, helping pave the way for reading and writing
4. Communication skills, helping little ones express themselves
5. Sharing and taking turns, helping everyone get along better!

Here is their helpful blog  and why not pop along to a class as I know you will really enjoy it and your child will also be learning really valuable  communication skills.

“During your baby’s first two years, their communication skills are developing at a dizzying pace, but communication is a complicated business! Children need to learn the names of objects and actions, they need to learn how to pronounce sounds, and gain the confidence to join in with conversations. The good news is there are lots of fun, easy ways you can boost this natural development and encourage your little one to get talking. Here are some of our favourites:

  1. Listen and enjoy sounds around you. Name sounds for your child (e.g. phone ringing, wind blowing, water running, police sirens) Have fun making sounds together

2.  Copy sounds …  such as animal sounds (“moo”, “miaow”, “quack,” “woof” & “baa

3.  Provide a commentary to your baby’s day. Even before your baby can speak, talking about what you’re doing together helps him to associate words with the things he sees. It doesn’t have to be complicated – just pointing out the red bus he’s looking at, or explaining all the delicious ingredients you’re putting into his lunch will be fine.

4. Encourage your baby to make vowel-like and consonant-vowel sounds such as “ba,” “ma,” and “da”.

5. Make sure if you ask your baby a question, you leave time for him to respond. He might not speak, but those little babbles, giggles and noises are your baby’s way of joining in the conversation!

6. Always try and respond to your child’s attempts to communicate.

When your child tries to name something / show you something, praise them and say  it back to them. For example, as your child points to a car and vocalises, you might say ”Well done … car … car”.

7. When you’re reading stories together, give your theatrical skills a full airing – make silly sound effects and create funny voices for the characters. When your child sees that language and words are fun, they’re more likely to join in themselves and try out new words.

8. Don’t anticipate your baby’s needs. If she points to the fridge, ask him if she wants milk or juice rather than just getting her a glass of milk. Don’t correct young children if they mispronounce words; you might put them off trying new words next time. Instead, repeat their words back to them, using the correct pronunciation yourself. They’ll soon get the idea.

9. Sing songs with your child, especially those with fun noises and  actions. Encouraging her to join in will develop her vocabulary and memory.

10. Listen to what your child is saying and add some new words

e.g. “big ball”, “Yes, that’s a big, yellow ball”.

11. Use simple games to introduce numbers, colours and letter sounds. As you tidy up, suggest he finds the red toys while you put away the yellow toys. Challenge your toddler to count blocks when you build towers, or steps as you go upstairs. Playing “I Spy” is a great way of introducing phonics to young children.

12. Imaginative play is a great way for older toddlers to practice their conversation skills – most three year olds love bossing their toys around! This doesn’t have to be expensive: most children will be just as happy with peg dolls and a cardboard box ‘house’.

13. Encourage your child to get involved in household chores. As you sort the laundry, talk about colours and shapes. In the kitchen, let children help with weighing ingredients, or mixing foods together.

Most of all have fun communication and make chatter matter!

 

Lisa & Tracey

Founders of Talking Tots

www.talkingtots.info