Tips when talking to your child

The more you talk to your child, the more words they will learn. By talking one-to-one every day to your child, you can help give them a good start with their education. Read some tips to help your child with talking, from their first baby babbles to toddler chat.

Describing flowers

In the spring and summer there are many beautiful flowers to show your child. Take them on a nature trail. Point out a daffodil, say the word 'daffodils' and explain these flowers are yellow.  Sniff them to find out the flower's smell. You can go around the park pointing and naming different things like trees, grass and sky. This activity helps your child’s speech develop.

Seeing birds and wildlife

When you’re out with your child, talk about the birds you see and the noises they make. Even in a city, you can see wildlife. If you see a blackbird or squirrel, say the name and point at it. Do the same when you feed the ducks in the park.

Face to face with your child

Your baby loves to see your face close up. They can see how your lips move to make sounds. When you go ‘oooh’, your lips make a round shape. When you make a ‘b’ or ‘p’ sound, your lips close then open. Talking gives you and your child time to shine. You can talk about anything you want

Your baby's first words

It doesn’t matter if they say ‘Da da!’ or ‘Mum mum', your baby’s first words are one of the proudest moments of your life. The next step is showing your child how to make longer sentences. For example, if they say “Cat!” you can simply reply: “Yes, the cat is black.” All you are doing is adding a bit more to what they said. Your child will soon know how to string words together and form sentences.

Say what you see

You are a great teacher – even if you don’t realise it. For example, at the bus-stop say to your child: “Oh, look, here comes the bus”  You’re helping your child link the sound of words with things they can see.

Repeating difficult words

If your child says a word or name incorrectly, you should the word again the right way, slowly and clearly. If they said ‘efelant’, you would say 'Yes, it’s an elephant.' You’re helping build your child’s confidence in talking and trying new words. The more often you say it, the more familiar and easier it becomes for them to remember.

Praising your child's new words

When your child learns to say something new,  say 'well done' and make a fuss of them. With this kind of boost, your child will gain the confidence to learn and speak more.

Library activities for children under four

To find tools, tips and fun activities to help develop your child's communication and language skills, go to:

Sing along songs

Singing songs are a great way for your child to learn words.

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