Things to do that can help my child / young person with their understanding, talking and communication
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The resources here will help you reach the outcome: "I know what to do to help my toddler's understanding, talking or communication."
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Tiny Happy People
Tiny Happy People BBC website provides a wide range of information, ideas and activities for parents to use in daily routines to help develop their toddler's communication skills. It includes information about what to expect and when as well as activities and games to play to help speech, language and communication. It includes information, ideas and activities for parents of toddlers with SEND.
Hungry Little Minds
Short videos demonstrating strategies and ideas for easy, fun games for you to do with your toddler. The information is broken down according to the child's age and the suggestions can be used flexibly, in any language, in a way that suits your and your child.
Tiny Happy People activities
Tiny Happy People BBC website provides a wide range of information, ideas and activities for you to use in daily routines to help develop their toddler's communication skills. It includes activities and games to play to help speech, language and communication.
Hear Glue Ear
The Hear Glue Ear app is a valuable tool to help families manage their child’s glue ear at home. Glue ear is one of the most common childhood conditions in children aged 2-6, and the concern is that some young children with persistent or recurrent glue ear might struggle to develop speech, language, listening, and social communication skills.
Cost: Free App
Be face to face at the toddler's level
Being at the toddler's level and being face to face with them helps them to listen, concentrate and understand the message. It also helps you to see where their focus is and what they are trying to communicate. This simple video produced by Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust shows why this is important.
Talk together in daily routines
This leaflet provides information about how you can use everyday activities and routines to talk about what your toddler can see and what is happening. Toddlers learn from experiences and activities that happen over and over again. This gives you a chance to use the same words and sentences many times. Linking these to daily routines will help your toddler to make links between the words you say and what they mean.
Sing songs and rhymes
Singing songs and rhymes together really help your toddler's communication and language skills to grow. Nottinghamshire Language for Life have produced videos for parents and carers that you can see by clicking the playlist on this page. Visit the 'words' page to learn the words to these songs and rhymes
Share books with toddlers
Sharing books is a great way to help your toddler's talking. Making books part of your daily routine really helps to develop shared focus, communication and language skills. Nottinghamshire Language for Life have produced this information leaflet about book sharing as well as many other top tips leaflets to help understand how to support speech, language and communication.
Switch off and talk
Toddlers find it hard to focus on two things at once. TV and other background noise make it hard for them to learn. You can help your toddler to develop good listening and talking skills by switching off electronic devices. This webpage and leaflet provides you with information about why this is important.
Speech and Language UK How to support your child
This information about how to support your toddler forms part of Speech and Language UK's guide to the typical stages of speech and language development. Toddlers develop language at different rates and understanding what is typical and what you can do to support your toddler can help you give them the best start on their journey to developing communication and language skills.
Follow the toddler's lead
Giving your toddler a chance to play with and explore the objects and toys around them gives you the perfect opportunity to follow their lead, see what they are interested in and talk about it. Talking about what your toddler is interested in shows them that you value what they are doing and helps them to make links with the words and sentences you say.
TCT Universally Speaking 0-5
Universally Speaking is a booklet with information about typical communication skills, including attention and listening and understanding; interactions and speech. Use the booklet to find out whether your toddler is on the right track, what helps them learn to talk and listen and what to do if you have concerns about any of their communication abilities.
Peep Communication and Language strand - evidence-based parenting programme for parents and children together to attend together. There is a focus on bonding, attachment and the quality of the home learning environment as well as a focus on communication and language. You have the opportunity to gain 3 credits towards NOCN Learning Together at home.
Peep Early Literacy Strand - evidence-based parenting programme for parents and children to attend together. There is a focus on bonding, attachment and the quality of the home learning environment as well as a focus on literacy. You have the opportunity to gain 3 credits towards NOCN Learning Together at home.
Use everyday routines
Use everyday routines as times to introduce language learning opportunities to your toddler. This leaflet from NHS Ayrshire and Arran gives you ideas for everyday routines that are perfect for learning and includes information about ways to do this.
Labelling and Commenting
Using real word labels and commenting on what your toddler is interested in helps them to learn new words and understand how sentences work. Here NHS Tayside's Rhyming Robin and Chatty and Charlie share information about how to do this as well as many other top tips for learning words and developing language.
Copy, repeat, imitate
Copying your toddler's sounds, words and actions shows them you're interested in what they are saying and doing, encourages them to do more and shows them how conversations and communication works. Here NHS Lothian share ideas of what you can do to help your toddler's early communication skills.
Greater Manchester 10 Tips for Talking
The Greater Manchester (GM) 10 Tips for Talking are ten key messages to support the development of language and communication skills for babies and young children and can be used by everyone. Each tip is designed to give families and anyone working with children some small suggestions that can make a big difference and help give children the best start. Each message is based on sound research and is delivered by children.
Talking With Your Children
Activities for parents to help nursery children’s speaking and listening Skills. This booklet has been put together to help parents and carers to support their nursery aged children and contains examples of activities to do to support their speaking and listening.
Signalong provides training and resources to assist those with communication difficulties and English as an additional language.
Signalong is a key word sign-supported communication system based on British sign language and is used in spoken word order. It uses speech, sign, body language, facial expression and voice tone to reference the link between sign and word.
Cost: Free & £
NLT Small Talk
Small Talk helps parents turn daily activities with their toddler into new opportunities to build language skills. It includes a website featuring simple videos, tips and information to help chat, play and read every day. The activities include ideas around meal times and other daily routines such as going shopping.
NLT Tips for talking leaflets
The National Literacy Trust provides a wide range of parent-friendly downloadable leaflets outlining tips for talking, why talking to your toddler matters and the benefits for their development. The ideas include information for talking in daily routines such as during nappy changing, information for dads and activities to support communication when out and about.
Leeds Speech and Language Therapy Toolkit
Leeds Community Healthcare's Speech and Language Therapy Toolkit contains advice, activities and general resources to help you with the development of your toddler's speech, language and communication skills.
Watch, wait, listen and respond
Watching, waiting, listening and responding is a powerful way that we can help toddlers develop early communication skills. Waiting for toddlers to take their turn or share what they are interested in can be difficult when we are busy getting on with life. However it is key to giving them opportunities to develop communication and language skills. This leaflet and video from the Speech and Language Therapy Service in Greater Glasgow and Clyde outlines why and how to wait and respond. It forms part of a wider series of useful information for parents, carers and professionals.
Slowing down when talking and singing helps toddlers to tune into the rhythm and the words adults around them are using. Slowing down also gives toddlers time to think about what they would like to say or do. This is one of a series of videos from Speech and Language Therapists from South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust outlining strategies to support speech, language and communication development.
Clickety Books are fun books and resources to share with your toddler to encourage development and will help children who may have difficulty with certain speech sounds. They have been developed by speech and language therapists to support the speech and language development of all children as well as those who need a little extra help. They include Early Sound Play resources that are built around stories - these stories are filled with particular target sounds, alliteration, rhythm and rhyme to develop early sound awareness. The story books can also be used to develop vocabulary, sentence and narrative skills boosting children's literacy skills. Puppets are also available to help with the interactive book-sharing experience!
Learning more than one language
Many children grow up learning more than one language. This information leaflet from NHS Forth Valley provides you with useful information and top tips about what you can do to help your toddler on their way to being bilingual.
Speech Link Parent Portal
The Speech Link Parent Portal offers you advice, information and activities for developing your children’s understanding, talking and listening. It includes information about speech, language and communication, how these skills develop, activities and top tips videos.
Speech and Language Chatter Matters
This series of videos for parents and carers outlines how speech, language and communication skills develop; what families can do to support their baby; how these skills develop over time; children with speech and language needs and how to access information and support.
NLT Bilingual quick tips
The National Literacy Trust has produced a series of bilingual quick tips for parents and practitioners to help children develop good talking and listening skills. There are lots of different languages. Copies can be downloaded and shared with families.
- Say hello to your new baby
- Dummies and talking
- Talk to your baby and child in your own language
- Making the most of television
- Talking with your baby
- Sharing songs and rhymes
- Playing with your baby
Stoke Speaks Out - Out and About activity packs
Being out and about is a great opportunity for language learning! Download these free printable activity packs for ideas to support your child's speech and language and occupy their busy little minds while you're out and about.
Expansions - repeat and add
One way to help your toddler make longer sentences is to repeat and add a word or 2. Here NHS Tayside's Rhyming Robin and Chatty Charlie share information about how to do this as well as many other top tips for putting words together.