Speech and Language tips for starting school

By the time they start school, children should be able to talk in sentences so that people can understand them. They should also enjoy stories, nursery rhymes and having conversations.

There are lots of things you can do to help your child to develop their talking, attention and listening skills. These include tips like:

  • reduce background noise made by people talking or having the TV on so that your child has the best chance of hearing what you are saying
  • encourage your child to look at you when you are talking to them by doing 'copycat' games like Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
  • use 'ready, steady…go' games to help children listen and wait for instructions
  • keep instructions short and simple and tell your child what you want them to do rather than what you don't want them to do e.g. "walk" rather than "don't run"

The activity sheets below provide lots more tips and games you can play with your child to help with their speaking, attention and listening skills. You can also find lots more advice on the Speech and Language Therapy website (opens in a new window).

Download: attention and listening tips

Download: attention and listening activities

Download: dummy advice

Download: top tips for talking

Download: top tips for expressive language

Who can help with speech and language?

Free online parent guides are available for parents living in Worcestershire and provide interactive activities, quizzes, video clips and practical hand-outs that focus on the parent-child relationship.

You can read more information about speech and language development for children aged 2 to 4 years to give you an idea about what your child should be doing between the ages of 2 and 4 years.

If you're concerned about your child's speech and language you could:

Where can I go for stories and nursery rhymes?

There are lots of groups around Worcestershire you can go to with your child to read stories, sign songs and listen to nursery rhymes. Worcestershire's Library Services have lots of groups around the county as well as schemes to give free book packs to children aged 0 to 4 years. These include:

  • bounce and rhyme sessions in every library (21 libraries) to support speech and language development and reading for pleasure
  • story times and holiday activities focused around literacy
  • wide range of books for children to support starting school
  • Bookstart an image of a bookstart packwide range of books to support parenting e.g. potty training, sleep patterns etc
  • summer reading challenge during the summer holidays for 4 to 12 year olds and under fives

There are also some tips on the BookTrust website (opens in a new window) around reading with your child.

Free books (Bookstart)

BookTrust website (opens in a new window) gives free books to every child in England and Wales at two key stages before school. The programme also gives free packs for children with additional needs, tips and guidance on reading together, resources and activities and much more.

As the world's first national book-gifting programme, Bookstart aims to encourage a love of books, stories and rhymes in children from as young an age as possible.

In Worcestershire, your pre-schooler will receive their special gift envelope when they are 4 years old, from their early years setting or library.