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Common Questions

1. Does it matter which way my pushchair faces?

Yes it does. There are many things to consider when deciding which pushchair or buggy model to buy, but foremost amongst them must be what's best for the baby. To help early development, babies will benefit if they are facing you
in their pushchair. Babies are born to be sociable but they need someone to be sociable with in order to allow them to fully develop emotionally, socially and as communicative babies. If they are facing you, you can point out things along the way or respond to anything that grabs your child's attention.

Research has shown that, if the baby is facing you, you are twice as likely to talk as when your baby is facing away from you. Furthermore, when adults talk, babies communicate too. If you are face-to-face with your baby as you go out and about, you will have the opportunity to make eye contact and talk to your baby, offering quality stimulation and instant reassurance.

2. Are Dummies Ok?

Babies like to suck, so dummies can help soothe at bedtime or when your baby is tired or cross. But regular and extended use of a dummy can create problems with your child's speech.

  • Try to wean your child away from dummies, preferably by 12 months. . Make a clean break - throw away the dummy over a weekend, or at a time when you have support. Most babies and toddlers will fret for no more than two or three days.
  • Dummies prevent babies from babbling - an important step in learning to talk, so only use them at set times, like bedtime.
  • When your baby cries he's trying to tell you something, so try to find out
    what's troubling him first, and use the dummy as a last resort.
  • Remember, learning to talk can be tricky so toddlers need lots of
    practice. A dummy will discourage your toddler from chatting with you, which
    she needs to do to develop her language skills.
  • If your toddler is still using a dummy, always ask him to take it out
    before you talk to each other.

3. What is the best way to help my child if our home language isn't English?

The best way to help your child learn to talk is to talk to him as much as
possible in your own language - it doesn't have to be English. That way,
your child will learn to talk confidently, and will be ready to learn
English when he starts at nursery or school.

  • Talk to your baby in your own language about what you're doing together -
    when you're bathing or feeding your baby, or changing her nappy.
  • Have fun with rhymes, poems and songs in your own language.
  • Tell your child stories in your language. Encourage him to join in with
    the storytelling.
  • Try to find books written in your language for your child, or try making
    your own.
  • Encourage your child to play with children who speak the same language as
    she does.
  • Don't laugh or tease your child because of his accent or if he makes
  • Talk to your child about what she did at playgroup or nursery in your
    language. If she uses English words repeat what she said using your
    language. But do not correct her or make her use your language.
  • Help your child feel proud of your language. If he speaks more than one
    language, teach him the names of the languages.

4. Should I let my child watch TV?

Like adults, children sometimes feel tired or stressed and want to relax by
watching television. Used in the right way, television can be beneficial.
But too much can be harmful, so it's important to find the right balance.

  • Try to limit your child's daily TV time to no more than half an hour for
    under-twos and an hour for three to five-year-olds. This will give you time
    for important activities like playing.
  • Always turn off the TV when no one is watching because constant background
    noise can distract you and your children from playing, listening and talking
    to each other.
  • Try to limit your child's viewing to programmes that have been designed
    for her age-group.
  • Allow your child to watch the same video or DVD again and again. This can
    be better than television as the repetition and familiarity of words and
    phrases make it easier for children to learn from them.
  • Don't put a television in your child's bedroom. This gives you less
    control over what and how much television he watches. If your child does
    have a TV in his room, make sure it is closely monitored.
  • Try to watch TV or videos together so you can talk about what happens.

5. Is it important to talk to him, I feel silly & I don't know what to say?

Learning to talk is one of the most important and complex skills your child
will accomplish. It seems to happen naturally, but in fact you have a very
important role to play. The more you talk to your baby, the more you enable
her to become a good talker and a confident, happy child.

  • Talk about what you're doing throughout the day - when you're bathing or
    feeding your baby, or changing her nappy.
  • Talk about the things you see on the way to the shops, or at the
    supermarket. Try to talk about the things your child shows an interest in.
  • Talk in the language that you know best. It doesn't have to be English.
  • Look at your baby as you talk and give him time to respond to your
  • Answer your baby's noises and babbles.
  • Cuddle up together and read a favourite book or talk about the pictures.
  • Have fun with nursery rhymes and songs, especially those with actions.
  • Listen carefully and give your toddler time to finish talking.
  • If your toddler says something incorrectly, say it back the right way e.g.
    "Goggy bited it." "Yes, the dog bit it, didn't he?"
  • Try to watch TV together so you can talk about what happens.

6. Why are songs and rhymes important?

Babies love songs and rhymes, especially hearing the sound of your voice.
And they're a great way to help your child's talking and listening skills.

  • Your voice is your baby's favourite music so sing to her, even if you
    don't think you sound great. Your baby won't judge you.
  • Turn off the TV or radio so your child can hear your voice.
  • You don't have to sing 'baby' songs - it can be the latest chart music. If
    you like the song, your baby will enjoy it too.
  • Don't worry if you don't know any nursery rhymes. Sing the songs you do
    know and visit the library to borrow rhyming books or tapes.
  • Look at your baby as you sing or chant and see how he reacts to different
    parts of the rhyme. Can you see his fingers wriggle?
  • When your baby is tired or upset try singing a favourite song, slowly and
    quietly, to comfort her.
  • Young children learn best through play, so make songs and rhymes fun.
    Change the sound of your voice, make up some actions or add your child's
    name or the names of family and friends.
  • When your baby or toddler joins in, show that you've noticed by giving
    lots of encouragement.
  • Even if your toddler is just beginning to talk, listen to his reaction to
    the song or rhyme.

7. I'm not very good at reading; do I have to read to her?

Sharing books is a wonderful way to help your child learn to talk, and it's
the ideal opportunity to share a cuddle at the same time.

  • Find a quiet place. Turn off the TV or radio so there are no distractions.
  • As well as reading the story, talk about the pictures. If there's a
    picture of a dog, talk about a dog that you know.
  • Give your child time to respond to your chatter.
  • Don't put any pressure on your child to name the pictures, but if she
    copies your words, praise her and say the words again for her.
  • Visit your library for different books - it's free to join. Don't worry if
    books get damaged; libraries understand that this sometimes happens.
  • Don't read for too long. Young children get bored quickly so little and
    often is best.
  • Let other grown-ups - grandparents, carers and older brothers and sisters
    - join in too.
  • It's good to share favourite books again and again. Repetition helps
    children to understand and remember the language they hear.
  • Remember, you're not teaching your child to read. You learn to talk a long
    time before you learn to read, and book sharing is a wonderful way to help
    your child's language development.

All the above and much more can be found at www.talktoyourbaby.co.uk

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