Monday, 28 January 2013

Building up confidence with language development

I am so pleased that I CAN are launching their 2013 Chatterbox Challenge Tea Party.

Having recently reviewed their Chatting with Children Activity Pack I was eager to support the boys' with their language development, as it is becoming more and more apparent that their speech is not progressing as well as Squeaks', which I imagine is attributable to a number of things, such as relying on their sister, communicating well with each others, and not having as much 1-2-1 time with mummy and daddy.

I was really pleased to receive the news that Humf (a much loved character from the Nick Jr, show) has partnered with ICAN to ensure, that with the continued support of sponsor Openreach, the 2013 Chatterbox Challenge is bigger than ever, reaching more and more people.

Kate Freeman, I CAN's Communication Advisor, has provided the following advice, which we've been focusing on over the past week and we were already adopting a lot of the practice, we weren't doing so much of the fun games which allows children to demonstrate their vocabulary. We know the boys are fantastic at understanding conversations and instructions, we know they love dancing and can do animal sounds, but it has been about them repeating things and putting words together which has concerned me.

After only a week, Cheeky loves to do the actions and sing along (in his own words) with 'Twinkle, Twinkle', Tiny loves falling down in 'Ring a ring a rosies', and they both love playing Musical Statues with Squeaks.

It proves that from being offered focused advice, which is simple and easy to adopt, can really support parents in developing their children's communication skills.

The recipe for the perfect ‘communication friendly’ party

Conversations make the world go round! Babies and young children are keen to communicate and from birth, play and interaction with adults and other children helps them learn about the world around them. Through these activities, they learn how to interact with others and develop social skills for later in life.

Communication skills are vital for all children to develop in their early years to ensure they can make friends, let people know how they feel and what they need. They are also key to learning, knowing how to behave and getting on in school.

Mealtimes and snack times, including I CAN’s Chatterbox Challenge Tea Party, are a fantastic opportunity for young children to continue to develop these vital communication skills.

Adults can help children develop their communication skills by:
• Getting the child’s attention before speaking to them
• Using natural gestures and signs to support the meaning of words and sentences
• Get down to the child’s level to talk to them
• Give the child plenty of time to say what they want to say. Listen more than you talk, then respond to what the child is saying
• Encourage the children at the tea party to talk and play together – they can also ask each other what they would like (offering and responding to choice, especially food and drink, is communication at its most meaningful).

Fun games to play at parties to develop children’s communication skills:
• Singing and rhyming songs – are a great way to help children learn vocabulary and have fun making music together
• Playing clapping games (Pat-a-Cake) – this helps children to develop their coordination, control and movement as well as learning vocabulary and social skills
• Word Games (Simon Says and I Spy) – this helps to develop children’s vocabulary about the world around them and to listen to instructions (These games can be adapted to easier versions for younger children)
• Turn taking games (Pass the Parcel) – this helps children to learn when to talk and when to listen
• Imaginative play like toys’ tea parties – this helps children to expand their language for use in a range of situations and develop their creativity.

To register for I CAN’s Chatterbox Challenge with Humf, go to
Any parent or practitioner with a question or concern about a child's communication or for more information on children’s communication development, contact the I CAN Help Enquiry Service for a call or email from a speech and language therapist - visit


  1. Really good, thanks for that. We're really pleased with their vocab & talking so far, especially Ellie, but Jake has a lot of trouble with consonants at the beginning of words. He can get very frustrated when we can't understand him: so this looks as if it could be helpful, thanks

  2. Thank you. And for stopping by. I just never know whether I'm being over cautious but it's great to have some signposts for reassurance.


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