Supporting Parents and Families
Parents have the biggest impact on how a child develops. If our aim is to support a child to reach their full potential, we cannot achieve this without working together with parents.

If you can support parents and families with the three areas below, you’ll be providing them with the tools to help their child develop…

1. Understand the importance of SLC and know what to expect as their child develops

    Help parents to understand the importance of SLC and know what to expect as their child develops.
    • Useful websites – Tiny Happy People, Hungry Little Minds, ICAN Talking Point
    • Useful resources – Small Talk, ICAN first words poster, EYFS guidance
    • How often do you talk about talking?
      • If we want to raise the profile of SLC development, we need to talk about it – and not just when we have a concern. Development of SLC should be a frequent topic of conversation with families from their first involvement with your setting or service. Parents need to see that SLC is important to you as a professional – how do you show this?
    • Do you provide access to information for parents to help them understand their child’s next steps for SLC? Consider how you do this – is it accessible for all parents? Consider different ways of communicating the information – displayed in your setting, using social media, talking in person?

2. Understand how to support SLC development in everyday routines – use Chat, Play and Read

    Help parents to understand how they can use everyday activities and routines to promote SLC – Chat, Play and Read!

    The simple strategy of ‘Chat, Play, Read’ is a great way of supporting parents to use everyday opportunities to promote early SLC development. We can take anything the child is interested in, or something the family are doing and find ways to Chat about it, Play in a way that follows their interest, and Read in different ways.

    Lets take an example, of going to the shops…

    • Chat – talk about what you need to buy, what you are going to have for tea, talk about the things the child likes to eat as you walk around the shop.
    • Play – pretend to go shopping at home, what can you ‘buy’? You could even ‘play’ with some of the shopping as you unpack – what sounds can you make with the tins, or the shaky cereal packet?!
    • Read – do you have any stories about going to the shops? Why not make one up on the way home?

    There are some fantastic websites you could signpost parents to or share on your social media. These are great for giving practical ideas for everyday talking:

3. Ideas for more specific activities to focus on areas of SLC where their child might need a little extra help.

    Give parents ideas of specific activities they can try at home to focus on SLC

    The idea of ‘Chat, Play, Read’ is still useful here, you can use it to focus on activities a child has shown interest in and help a parent understand how they can use it to develop their child’s SLC skills.

    What if a child who has limited vocabulary has been really interested in playing in the sand at nursery today, you could tell parents about this and suggest they try…

    • Chat – talk about the sand on the way home? Use words like sand, dig, spade, pour, soft
    • Play -  if you have any sand at home, you could play together, or maybe go to the beach! Use the same words again in your play to reinforce them. Can you find other times to use the new words? How about pouring water at bath time, or digging in the garden
    • Read – do you have any stories that use these words? If not, why not make up your own!