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Top tips for Promoting Communi-cation and Language

Value talk - Be an active listener, fully engage with what your child has to say and show you value their contribution.
Wait, watch & wonder – children will often initiate conversation if given the time, pondering e.g. “I wonder” statements are less threatening than direct questions. Children are more relaxed and more likely to respond.
Thinking time – young children need time (up to 11 seconds) to process before responding.
Foster positive attachments with your child - If they feel safe and comfortable and know you care about them they are likely to want to communicate with you.
Avoid asking too many questions – Instead hold a conversation. When you do ask questions make these open and purposeful.
Allow children to lead play and follow their interests – engaged, excited learners will want to tell you about their play and exploration.
Use commentary – model language through describing what children are doing.
Use Gestures – in conjunction with spoken language to capture interest and support understanding.

Follow interests - Talk about what your children are interested in. They will be more motivated to speak.
TV Time - If you let your child watch TV, watch it with them (as much as possible). This can spark conversation and provide new vocabulary.
Quiet times - It’s really important to remember that children need quiet time where you turn off background noise and have time to focus on play.
Use technology - Keep in touch with relatives or friends they are separated from at this time e.g. e-mail, send photos, video chat. Use it as an opportunity to ask your child what they might want to say.
Explore photos - can your child remember the story behind the photo? See if you can find a similar photo of when you were young. Talk about the differences and similarities – this exercise is great for sharing real stories.
Turn technology off - model putting your own devices to one side. Communication technology is part of our daily lives, but face-to-face conversations are rewarding and vital for developing speaking and listening skills.
Using these tips - alongside the activities in this booklet will promote communication and language.
Repeat children’s language – using correct pronunciation and extending vocabulary/ sentences as appropriate.

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