Talk Matters in Hartlepool - Helping your Babbling Baby become a Talkative Toddler

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Talk Matters in Hartlepool Helping your Babbling Baby become a Talkative Toddler

Working to support parents in Hartlepool and improve outcomes for children


Talk Matters Children learn language by listening and interacting with others. Every time you talk to your child, even before they are born, you are modelling language, and by making time every day to talk to your child in different ways you are helping their language and communication development. Children who are confident communicators, who have a good vocabulary and have a good knowledge of stories and rhymes make good thinkers, readers and writers. Research shows that this makes a significant difference to their long-term achievement and life chances. ‘Talk Matters’ is a project funded by Hartlepool Borough Council’s Education Commission which recognises the important role of parents and carers in their child’s language development. Two booklets have been created, by a group of practitioners from schools and settings in Hartlepool, to support you. The booklets focus on five simple but key activities that provide important opportunities to support your child’s language development. This booklet ‘Babbling Baby to Talkative Toddler’ focuses on supporting the development of early language skills. A second booklet ‘Talkative Toddler to Confident Communicator’ builds on this and supports the development of later language skills.

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Talking with your child from birth is important because it supports your child’s language and communication skills. Talking with your child doesn’t have to be a big deal - just chatting about everyday things is a good start. Play is essential for language development and is one of the most important things you can do with your child. By talking to your child, while you are playing, you are modelling language and communication skills. Play doesn’t have to be elaborate or involve expensive toys - role playing familiar routines with everyday objects is great. Your child’s language development needs you to model listening well. By showing your child that you are interested and valuing their attempts at communication

they will talk more. Listening involves looking, getting down to their level and making an appropriate response - like any other skill you get better with practice. Sharing stories with your child helps promote language, literacy and brain development. By sharing stories you are helping them learn new vocabulary and the structures of language. It is also a great way to spend time together. Story telling doesn’t always involve a book telling your own stories, real and imagined, is good. While you are sharing songs and rhymes with your child, they are learning new vocabulary and the rhythm and patterns of language - skills needed for later reading and writing. You may not think that you are the best singer your child will think you are!

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Talk with me Every day in different ways... Engage: Get down to your child’s level and make eye contact. Comment: Talk about what you and your child are doing. Repeat: Say words again and again. Take turns: Give time for your child to answer.

Did you know? By talking to your child, even before they are born, you are helping their language development.

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Talk with me... Learning to talk doesn’t just happen by accident. Going from a ‘Babbling Baby’ to a ‘Talkative Toddler’ needs you to help make it happen.

Be face-to-face. Hold your child close and make eye contact when you talk.

Use your child’s name every time you talk to them.

Interpret your baby’s gestures, body movements, sounds, gazes as attempts to communicate and respond. Give lots of praise.

Talk in a lively animated voice, use gestures and lots of facial expressions.

Talk, talk, talk. Narrate the day as it evolves. Tell your child, “Now we’re going to take a bath... I will fill the bath with water... Can you feel the water on your tummy?”

Copy back to your child the sounds and the faces they make and give them time to respond. This is early conversational turn-taking.

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Talk with me Different ways to talk... Play turn-taking games eg ‘Peek a Boo’ eg adult’s turn to hide, baby’s turn to giggle; adult’s turn to hide, baby’s turn to giggle. When you are out and about, point out and name things that you can see eg ”Look, a duck!” Give them time to respond with smiles, gestures and sounds. When you are shopping, name the things as you put them into the basket. A box of everyday things - put a few everyday objects into a box (eg brush, sock, flannel, teddy). Choose something and give it to your baby, name it, then let them explore it. As they get a little older, tell them what the items are for, add any actions eg “Brush, brush , brush your hair.” Later, you can involve a ‘person’ like a teddy, doll or toy pet and let them have a go, for example, at brushing their doll’s hair. Make a bowl of soapy water and add familiar objects, eg cup, spoon, duck. Talk about the sounds as you add them, use words such as splash, drip, whoosh, clink.

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Play with me Every day in different ways... Time: Make time to play with your child. Follow your child’s lead: Let your child choose what they want to play and join in. Comment: Talk about what you and your child are doing, name the toys, people, objects, actions. Make it fun: Show you are enjoying playing with your child.

Did you know? Play helps children to learn about the world around them and is an important way to develop early language and communication skills.

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Play with me... Learning to talk doesn’t just happen by accident. Going from a ‘Babbling Baby’ to a ‘Talkative Toddler’ needs you to help make it happen. Make time to play with your child every day. You are your child’s favourite playmate.

Talk about the toys, play people and objects as you play.

Speak slowly and repeat words during play.

Playing with your child shows you are interested and builds the confidence they need for language development.

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Make play fun. If your child enjoys a particular game, repeat it frequently.

You do not need lots of expensive toys; use simple, safe things that you have around the house.

Play indoors and outdoors with your child. As your baby gets older, don’t try to direct the play, let them choose and follow their lead.


Play with me Different ways to play... Messy play - fill a bowl or tray with, for example, shredded paper, child friendly foam, sand; explore it with your child. They may want to sit in it! Talk about how it feels, any sounds it makes, how it moves. Treasure basket - gather a basket of objects eg lots of different sized balls and explore them with your child, naming and describing them. Gather together a box of metal objects eg keys, chains, tin bowls, spoons etc. Explore the objects with your child - putting objects inside each other and stacking them. Talk about how the metal shines, what it sounds like and how it feels. Play turn-taking games with your child eg rolling a ball back and forwards or taking turns to roll a car down a ramp. Talk Time Bag - fill a bag with objects that are related eg toothbrush, soap, flannel, sponge, shampoo; explore them with your child, naming the object, talking about what it is for and when it is used. “A flannel, we use this to get washed. We get washed when we get up on a morning and before we go to bed.� Learning Language for Life in Hartlepool : 11



Listen to me Every day in different ways... Listen: Show your child you are listening. Make eye contact, smile, show you are interested in what they are ‘saying’. Respond: Repeat back their attempts to communicate: sounds, facial expressions, words. Take turns: Encourage your child to talk by giving them time to respond.

Did you know? You are the most important person in developing your child’s language. When you respond to your child’s ‘talk’, they know you are listening.

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Listen to me... Learning to talk doesn’t just happen by accident. Going from a ‘Babbling Baby’ to a ‘Talkative Toddler’ needs you to help make it happen. Respond to your baby’s cries, sounds and movements. Responding will help them to turn sounds and cries into words, and then words into sentences.

Show you are listening by repeating the sounds your baby makes back to them. This is early turn-taking.

Show you are listening by praising and encouraging your child’s attempts to communicate.

Show your interest in what your child is telling you by saying things like “Tell me more...”, “Go on, I am listening.”

Make eye contact with your child, get down to their level to show you are listening.

As your child starts to use words, show you are listening by echoing back to them. Model the correct form eg Child ‘Bobo” Adult “Your bottle”.

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Listen to me Different ways to listen... Play ‘Copy cat games’, hold your baby close so they can focus on your face. Make big facial gestures eg a big grin, and wait for your child to copy. Ask your child to follow clear simple, one-step instructions eg “Put the wrapper in the bin.” Role play using a telephone. Make sounds eg using a rattle, drum, tambourine and encourage your child to listen and respond to the sound. Talk about everyday sounds and encourage your child to listen to cars on the road, the washing machine, the dishwasher. Make a recording of familiar sounds eg a door bell, a telephone ringing, a dog barking. Take photographs of the objects making the sounds, play the sounds and see if your child can identify each sound by pointing to the picture.

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Share a story with me Every day in different ways... Time and space: Make time and find a quiet space to share a story. Share a book: Look through a book together and talk about the pictures, characters and the story. Tell a story: Make up a story about what you have been doing or where you have been.

Did you know? Children who have shared lots of stories enjoy reading and have better language skills when they get older.

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Share a story with me Learning to talk doesn’t just happen by accident. Going from a ‘Babbling Baby’ to a ‘Talkative Toddler’ needs you to help make it happen. Read with your child everywhere. Bedtime is great but you can also share books throughout the day, at home, on the bus, in the park etc.

Snuggle up together and let your child see the book you are sharing.

Think about turning off the TV, background noise is distracting for both of you.

Talk about the pictures, characters or things in the book, let your child point and turn the pages.

Point to pictures in the book as you name people and objects.

Repeat the same story, time and time again, you are helping your child develop connections in their brain.

Let your child handle books; board, cloth and plastic books are ideal for babies and very young children.

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Share traditional tales and popular stories with your child.

Talk slowly and emphasise words as you share the story. Use different voices and sound effects to make it more interesting.


Share a story with me Different ways to share a story... Whenever possible, share 3 or 4 stories a day with your child. As well as sharing stories in a book you can make up your own stories or re-tell real events to create a story. Black and white books are good for a baby up to around 7 months as they can focus more clearly on the pictures. Make simple hand or finger puppets to help retell a story. Take your child to the library. Let them choose books and share in the story times. Make a ‘storytelling box’ - a box containing items that will help you to create your own stories. You could use pictures, toys, objects etc that help you to re-tell a story from a holiday, a trip to the park or a visit to the supermarket.

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10 traditional tales to share with your child

Chicken Licken

The Gingerbread Man

Goldilocks and the Three Bears

The Three Little Pigs The Three Billy Goats Gruff

Jack and the Beanstalk The Magic Porridge Pot Little Red Riding Hood The Ugly Duckling The Enormous Turnip

These traditional tales have been chosen by teachers and practitioners from across Hartlepool as part of a core selection of traditional tales, popular stories, songs and rhymes. We hope that every child, through the project, will become familiar with these. Further details can be found on the Talk Matters website www.hartlepool.gov.uk/talkmatters

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10 popular stories to share with your child

Alfie – Shirley Hughes

Kipper – Mick Inkpen

Dear Zoo - Rod Campbell

Little Rabbit Foo Foo – Michael Rosen

Each Peach Pear Plum – Janet and Allan Ahlberg Elmer – David McKee Five Minutes Peace – Jill Murphy

Owl Babies – Martin Waddell Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes – Mex Fox The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle

These popular stories have been chosen by teachers and practitioners from across Hartlepool as part of a core selection of traditional tales, popular stories, songs and rhymes. We hope that every child, through the project, will become familiar with these. Further details can be found on the Talk Matters website www.hartlepool.gov.uk/talkmatters Learning Language for Life in Hartlepool : 21



Sing songs and rhymes with me Every day in different ways... Repeat: Sing rhymes and songs again and again. Rhythm: Clap hands, stamp feet or use instruments. Actions: Add actions to match the words.

Did you know? When you sing songs and rhymes with your child, their brain is making lots of connections and they are becoming familiar with the rhythms of language.

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Sing songs and rhymes with me... Learning to talk doesn’t just happen by accident. Going from a ‘Babbling Baby’ to a ‘Talkative Toddler’ needs you to help make it happen. Add movement to the songs. Move with your baby to the beat. Clap baby’s hands in time to the rhythm.

Repeat the same songs and rhymes over and over.

Sing songs and rhymes to your baby, even before they are born!

Choose songs and rhymes that match how they feel, eg sing quietly when they are tired.

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Recite a nursery rhyme anytime eg when nappy changing, when feeding.

Include your baby’s name in the song. Vary the tone of your voice. Give them time to respond with coos and smiles. Show you are interested in their responses and give them lots of encouragement.

Turn off the TV and sing songs and rhymes as often as you can. Your voice is your child’s favourite music!


Sing songs and rhymes with me Different ways to sing songs and rhymes... Look out for ‘Rhyme Time’ at your local library or Children’s Centre. Use musical instruments to accompany your singing. You could make your own instruments with plastic bottles or cartons and peas or rice - be creative! Remember to be careful with small parts. Gather a collection of plastic bowls and pans, turn them upside down on the floor and let your child use wooden spoons to make their own music! Sing songs and rhymes on a car journey. Make a recording on your mobile phone and play music to sing along to.

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10 songs and rhymes to share with your child

Are You Sleeping? (Frere Jacques)

Row Your Boat The Grand Old Duke of York

Hush Little Baby This Little Piggy Open, Shut Them Tommy Thumb Rock a Bye Baby Two Little Dickie Birds Round and Round the Garden

These songs and rhymes have been chosen by teachers and practitioners from across Hartlepool as part of a core selection of traditional tales, popular stories, songs and rhymes. We hope that every child, through the project, will become familiar with these. Further details can be found on the Talk Matters website www.hartlepool.gov.uk/talkmatters

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10 nursery rhymes to share with your child

Hey Diddle Diddle

Pat a Cake, Pat a Cake

Horsey Horsey

Polly Put the Kettle On

Humpty Dumpty

Pussycat Pussycat

Jack and Jill went up the Hill

See Saw Margery Daw

Little Bo Peep

Sing a Song of Sixpence

These nursery rhymes have been chosen by teachers and practitioners from across Hartlepool as part of a core selection of traditional tales, popular stories, songs and rhymes. We hope that every child, through the project, will become familiar with these. Further details can be found on the Talk Matters website www.hartlepool.gov.uk/talkmatters Learning Language for Life in Hartlepool : 27


We are very grateful to the extremely talented art students from High Tunstall College of Science who have worked on designing images for the project and to the practitioners for helping develop the booklets. The character ‘Toby Talk-Matters’ is a reminder to all adults that talking to babies and children is essential for their language development.

www.hartlepool.gov.uk/talkmatters