Tips and Advice

A child’s main parent/caregiver plays an important role in all aspects of their child’s development.

Help Kids Talk promotes 12 key messages. These key messages will help you support your child’s speech, language and communication skills during everyday activities and routines.

See below for more information about each key message, watch the key message video and download a poster.

Download all 12 key message posters


Talk to me before I am born… think of the bond we will form

Talking & singing to babies in the womb develops the attachment between parent or caregiver and the child. Babies learn a lot before they are born. At 16-20 weeks they can hear your voice and other sounds from the womb. At 24-28 weeks their hearts beat faster when they hear music & they will remember the music they hear in the womb when they are born.

Helpful tips:

  • Talk, sing and play music to your bump
  • Encourage close friends & family to talk to your bump too
  • Rub your tummy when your baby kicks – this can become a ‘conversation’
Download poster

Take your place face to face… I learn the most when you are close

Eye contact is important for your baby’s brain development. Being face to face allows you to respond to your child’s facial expressions and all communication attempts. It also means your little one can see all your facial expressions too!

Helpful tips:

  • Hold your baby close and look at them when you are talking, playing or singing to them
  • Make sure you are face to face with your child when they are cooing, babbling or talking to you – being face to face will show them that you are listening
  • Be face to face when you sing nursery rhymes and during playtime
  • If your child is playing on the floor, sit next to them so you are at the same level and join in with their play
Download poster

Words by one make talking fun... copy my actions, sounds and words

By responding to your child’s actions, sounds and words you open communication & turn taking, and this will help develop back and forth ‘conversations’ right from the new-born baby stage. Early ‘conversations’ may consist of smiling or a baby waving their arms and legs in excitement.

Helpful tips:

  • When your baby is making noises and different expressions, look and listen to show you are interested
  • Copy noises and expressions your baby makes, smile and talk to them – this will encourage them to keep making ‘conversation’
  • When your child tells you about their day, listen and ask them questions.
Download poster

Books are fun for everyone… you can turn a page at any age

Sharing books is a lovely bonding activity that a parent and child can do together from any age. Reading helps develop early communication skills. Even before a child can understand words, they are learning about the tone and rhythm of speech.

Helpful tips:

  • Follow your child’s lead. You do not have to read every word in a book or read the book from start to finish. When reading the book, point to and talk about the pictures. You can make animal noises (e.g. “moo”) or vehicle noises (e.g. “beep, beep”)
  • Read the same book again and again – this will help your child to learn, understand and use more words
  • Share bedtime stories, this can help children to relax and get ready for sleep. They will also love the extra cuddles!
  • Make reading fun! Use different voices, facial expressions and actions when telling the story.
  • For older children, see if they can tell you the story or get them to predict what might happen next.
Download poster

Crawlers to walkers, babblers to talkers… talking is just as important as walking

Communication is as important as the more visual and physical milestones, such as crawling and walking. Almost any activity can be an opportunity to talk, bond and have fun with your child.

Helpful tips:

  • Chat to your child about what you are doing as you feed, change and bathe them
  • Respond to your child when they point or make noises, interpret what they are saying e.g. “you want the ball”
  • Sing nursery rhymes and songs together
  • Read books together, have fun making up stories and pretending to be different characters e.g. firefighter/farmer
Download poster

Kind words and gentle touch, help me explore and learn so much

Children need cuddles and other loving touch for healthy development. Using kind and positive words is also important for their development. The words we use with children become their inner voice. Adults need to know how to regulate their own emotions so they can relax, and this teaches babies and children how to relax too.

Helpful tips:

  • Skin to skin contact relaxes both you and your child. They can never have too many cuddles!
  • Sit your child on your lap or snuggle up close to each other when you are reading books together.
  • Hold hands with your child  when you are walking to school or walking to the park
  • If your child doesn’t want cuddles, find other ways to give them reassurance e.g. high fives, tickles, sitting next to them on the sofa
  • Remember giving a child praise and complimenting them boosts their self esteem
  • Be kind to yourself, parenting can be hard work
Download poster

Less watching more talking… put everything away and just sing, talk and play

Playing together helps strengthen the bond between a parent and child. By playing with your child you will help build their self-confidence and develop their language and communication skills. “Toys are great, but the best toy in the world for me is… you!”

Helpful tips:

  • Sing nursery rhymes that involve touch, e.g. “Round and round the garden”, or actions e.g. “Twinkle, twinkle little star”
  • Play games like blowing raspberries or Peekaboo were the focus is on the interaction between you and your child – you can do this anywhere, no special equipment is required
  • Switch screens off and take the time to have a chat with your child or have a dance and a sing-along
Download poster

Add some words to what I say, I’ll learn to use sentences as we talk and play

Adding words to what your child says is a great way of supporting and developing their communication. You can help your child to use longer sentences by repeating what they say and adding a couple more words.

Helpful tips:

  • Add words to what your child says e.g. if a child says “ball”, you can reply with “yes, a big ball!”
  • Remember to use a variety of different words – you could try adding action words (cat climbing, cat sleeping), describing words (big cat, fluffy cat, grey cat) or social words (hello cat, bye cat)
  • Help increase your child’s vocabulary by giving them choices e.g. “Do you want an apple or a banana?”
  • Join in with your child while they play. Rather than ask questions, chat about what they are doing e.g. “wow that’s a fast race car!” or “dolly is going to bed” and wait for your child to respond.
Download poster

Make our home language number one so we can talk, play and have fun

Talk to your child in the language you know best and are the most comfortable speaking. Talking and communicating with your child in your home language will support attachment, identity, understanding, self-esteem and promote a relaxed home environment.

Helpful tips:

  • Speaking more than one language is an advantage and is the norm around the world
  • Look at books and sing songs and rhymes in your home language
  • If your child can talk confidently in their home language, it should make learning a new language easier
  • Let your child hear English whilst you are out and about but try not to worry about getting them to speak it
  • Do not worry if your child cannot speak English when they start school, they should learn by listening and watching others
Download poster

Talk and sing wherever we go, that will help my brain to grow

veryday activities bring with them lots of opportunities to talk and sing, by doing this with your child you will help build their brain connections. Talking throughout experiences helps children make sense of these experiences.

Helpful tips:

  • Involve your child in everyday routines (going shopping, washing up ) and talk about what your are doing together.
  • Tell your baby or child what is going on and point out interesting things that you see together
  • Use actions with your words e.g. waving & saying “bye bye”
  • Take turns, remember to listen and respond to your baby or child
  • Make up songs based on your child’s interests and likes – you can use a familiar tune but add your own words
Download poster

Sing a rhyme anytime, start your child learning for a lifetime

Singing nursery rhymes and action songs is a great way for your child to hear lots of sounds and words. When babies and toddlers know nursery rhymes this helps to support their later reading and writing skills.

Helpful tips:

  • Sing nursery rhymes throughout the day e.g. “row row row your boat” at bath time, “Old MacDonald had a farm” when walking to school
  • Use actions when singing to help your child learn the words
  • Pause during familiar nursery rhymes to allow your child to join in e.g. sing “Twinkle, twinkle little ….” then pause – your child might use body language to get you to keep singing (e.g. wave their arms) or sing the next word (e.g. “star”)
Download poster

Play your part right from the start, I need you to talk and play everyday

Play is not only fun, it is also the best way for children to learn about themselves, other people and the world around them. Play helps develop attention, language, emotions, imagination & social skills.

Helpful tips:

  • Take time out every day to get involved with your child’s play – this might only be for a few minutes that’s ok
  • Let your child take the lead, they will stay engaged for longer if you take an interest in what they want to do
  • Comment lots during play so that your child hears words for actions and objects related to their play e.g. “wow you’re building a tall tower!”
Download poster

“Love the messages so clear and will help us all be consistent”

“Now recognise that simple things really benefit children now and in years to come”

Feedback from basic awareness

“Great course in understanding children more. Sarah was very clear and easy to understand.”

“Excellent training. Well-presented and presenter very approachable and engaging. Very good summary of key speech, language and communication issues. Would recommend to others.”

Feeback from level 1 training

“I love this! A very useful resource for parents.  The video clip is especially important – so that parents can see the difference it makes without the dummy in.”

Feedback from Dummy Bitesize session

“Results are amazing and such a worthwhile programme to do with our little ones”

“My child’s speech has come on great, they did Early Talkboost in Nursery and Talkboost in P2 and I can see the difference”

Feedback from TalkBoost intervention

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