This week is Parent’s Week

As a speech and language therapist who helps families through I CAN’s enquiry service, one of the questions I get asked the most is “is there anything I can do to help my child?”  My answer is always “of course, there is so much you can do” because we know that parents are in a unique position and have a hugely important part to play in their child’s development.

The fact that Parents Week is taking place this week (between 17 and 23 October) makes this the perfect opportunity to think about and celebrate the huge role parents play in helping their child to develop their communication skills.  There are loads of reasons that parents are so important when it comes to helping their child to talk and understand, and these are just a few of them:

Parents know their child better than anyone else.  This means that they know all about the things they enjoy and the things they hate!  They know what motivates their child, and so they can use this as a way of encouraging communication skills.  A mum that knows her child loves water play can make the most of it by talking to them about concepts like full, empty, warm, cold, and actions like pouring, splashing and washing.  Helping them to take turns and play with someone else is really important too.  Let your child lead the way!

Natural, everyday communication opportunities happen all around us.  Parents don’t need to set up special activities to practise communication; they can make the most of the activities that happen as part of everyday life. So whether it’s bath time, mealtimes, story time, or watching TV, parents are surrounded by perfect opportunities to help their child to talk and listen to others.   Why not try taking turns to talk about the pictures in a story book at the end of the day.  Or talk to your child about their favourite programme that you watched together; you can have loads of fun acting it out again. Can you remember all the things that happened?

Everyone can be involved!  So, mum, dad, nanny, granddad, anyone that is involved in the life of a child can join in with activities that support a child to develop their communication skills.  Let’s all get involved to give our children the best opportunities we can for talking and understanding others!

There are lots more tips for helping children develop their communication skills on the Talking Point website.  So go on mums and dads, make the most of the amazing opportunities that you have and do what you can to get your little ones chattering!!

If you have any questions about children’s communication why not book a free call-back from a speech and language therapist. Call 020 7843 2544 or visit www.ican.org.uk/help