body-confident girl

How to raise body-confident children in a social media obsessed society

By | Food & Eating, Mental health

Growing up in a world consumed by social media, it is quite possible that our current young generation will stand a higher chance of having a negative relationship with their body as they grow up. Studies show that 87% of females and 65% of males compare themselves and their bodies to ones they see on social media.

Whilst it may now be trendy to share ‘real’, unedited photos online, a lot of the damage has already been done. As soon as a young, impressionable individual sees a certain body type being deemed as the ‘ideal’, it is only natural that they will begin to compare themselves to it. However, there are ways, as a parent, you can help to combat this issue.

Here, Chaneen Saliee shares how to raise body-confident children in a social media obsessed society:

• Be the role model
Children imitate their parents. Therefore, it’s extremely important to learn to love yourself so your child can model their beliefs and attitudes on the way to speak to and treat your own body.

• Media consumption
Surround your children with positive, inclusive and diverse imagery. If children idolise a certain book character who speaks positively about bodies and self-love, they are likely to adopt a similar mindset. The films and art that your children are exposed to, have a huge subconscious impact on their forming beliefs and attitudes.

• Trend management
Pay attention to the trends your child may be seeing in school or on social media. If your children are slightly older, be ready to deliver compassionate advice about how to navigate these trends whilst remaining confident in themselves.

• Using affirmations
“I am beautiful, my body is strong, I am grateful for my health.” Positive affirmations may seem awkward at first, but our brains rewire themselves with more repetition, meaning we eventually begin to genuinely believe these statements.

• Talk positively about all body types
Celebrate all bodies! Teach your child that it’s important to be loving and accepting of everyone, regardless of what they look like. They should refrain from judging individuals based on their body.


Talk PANTS and stay safe

By | children's health, Education, Relationships, Safety

From an early age we talk to children about how to stay safe. We teach them how to cross the road safely and not to run with scissors. But some subjects can be trickier to discuss than others. For example – sexual abuse. Where on earth do you start?

Talking about sexual abuse with children can feel like a daunting prospect. It’s something you hope you never have to discuss and you might feel that if you do; you’ll scare them or take away their innocence.

But the truth is abuse happens and we need to talk about it to keep children safe. During the year 2019/20, police forces across the UK recorded more than 73,500 child sex offences – an increase of 57% over five years. By talking about it from an early age, potentially before it even takes place, we can help children speak up if something happens that worries them.

But talking about abuse doesn’t need to be a scary thing and we can show you how. You can start by teaching them the NSPCC’s Underwear Rule, or PANTS. Since the NSPCC launched its PANTS campaign in 2013, it has sparked over 1.5 million conversations between adults and their children to help keep them safe from abuse.

PANTS stands for:
Privates are private
Your underwear covers up your private parts and no one should ask to see or touch them. Sometimes a doctor, nurse or family members might have to. But they should always explain why and ask you if it’s OK first.

Always remember your body belongs to you
Your body belongs to you. No one should ever make you do things that make you feel embarrassed or uncomfortable. If someone asks to see or tries to touch you underneath your underwear say ‘NO’ – and tell someone you trust and like to speak to.

No means no
No means no, and you always have the right to say ‘no’ – even to a family member or someone you love. You’re in control of your body and the most important thing is how YOU feel. If you want to say ‘No’, it’s your choice.

Talk about secrets that upset you
There are good and bad secrets. Good secrets can be things like surprise parties or presents for other people. Bad secrets make you feel sad, worried or frightened. You should tell an adult you trust about a bad secret straight away.

Speak up, someone can help
Talk about stuff that makes you worried or upset. If you ever feel sad, anxious or frightened you should talk to an adult you trust. This doesn’t have to be a family member. It can also be a teacher or a friend’s parent – or even Childline.

Next, you’ll need to pick the right time to start talking about it. The right time is… anytime! It’s important to make it part of everyday conversations you might have with your child so that it doesn’t feel forced or as though it’s a big deal. Some examples are:
• During bath time, when applying cream or when getting your child dressed.
• During car journeys – it’s a neutral space and it might be easier to get their undivided attention.
• Going swimming is the perfect time to explain that what’s covered by swimwear is private.
• During a TV show that features a sensitive storyline – you could ask them what they would do in that situation and encourage them to think about adults they trust and could speak to about a problem.

There’s even a video for you to sing along to with your child, to help them learn the Underwear Rule. The yellow, cuddly, pant-wearing dinosaur mascot, Pantosaurus, sings and dances his way through these important safeguarding messages but it’s fun and incredibly catchy.

Singing not really your thing? Don’t worry – you can always read the PANTS book together. Pantosaurus and the Power of Pants follows the story of Pantosaurus as he receives a new pair of pants. Dinodad tells him that they will give him special powers. Pantosaurus then experiences a problem at school and just as Dinodad told him, his super pants give him the power to speak up.

There are lots of other sources of support available on the NSPCC website – You can sign up for regular emails with tips and advice, download free PANTS guides in 16 different languages and sing along to the Pantosaurs video.

There are also PANTS activity packs, and Pantosaurus and the Power of Pants is available to buy in the NSPCC online shop –

For further advice and support, the NSPCC’s Helpline is available Monday to Friday 8am – 10pm or 9am – 6pm at the weekends. Trained professionals can offer tips and advice and can help you if you have concerns about a child. You can call them free and in confidence on 0808 800 5000 or visit


Three tips for boosting men’s mental health

By | Mental health, Relationships
Boys don’t cry. Man up. Be a man. Phrases like these stop men talking about mental health issues. They’re part of the reason why one in eight men has a common mental health problem in England. It’s why three times as many men die by suicide in the UK compared to women, and why men are overwhelmingly less likely to receive psychological therapy.

To save men’s lives, something has to change. But the actions many men take in response to mental health issues – brushing it off, bottling it up – simply aren’t working. Instead, men need to see that opening up isn’t a sign of weakness, but the path to a happier and more balanced life.

Here, The Massage Company is giving its top tips on what men can do to help alleviate their mental health issues.

Get talking
Whether it’s with friends and family, or with an independent therapist, the first step to solving any problem is talking about it.

There are many different types of therapy available. Would you like someone who can help you think about unhelpful patterns of behaviour? Cognitive Behavioural Therapy might be the right solution. Need help overcoming a specific challenge such as addiction? Counselling could be a great way to find out how others have had the same challenge before, and the steps they have taken to overcome it.

The majority of humans love giving advice, but how often do you listen to your own? The next time you are struggling with a mental health issue, ask yourself: what would I say to myself in this situation? And remember to lend an ear to other men when they are in need – after all, the more we listen to others, the closer we get to cracking the stigma about men opening up.

If you aren’t ready to speak out, even just keeping a diary can help you recognise negative symptoms or thoughts, helping you understand whatever might trigger anxiety or other mental health issues.

Get moving
Exercise has vast physical benefits, including boosting your energy, helping you sleep better and reducing the risk of diabetes. But it also reduces anxiety and depression and improves your mood by releasing endorphins – the so-called ‘feel-good hormones’.

By exercise, we don’t mean cranking out reps until you look like Jean Claude Van Damme. Just a brief 30 minute session of moderate exercise a day can be enough to help reduce depression and anxiety. In fact, studies show that there is a 20% to 30% lower risk of depression and dementia for adults participating in daily physical activity.

Beyond exercise, finding a new hobby can be key to alleviating mental health issues. Maybe it’s cooking. Maybe it’s gardening. Maybe it’s whacking a ball into the sun at the driving range. Whatever it is, find something to do that transports you somewhere else for a while.

Get relaxing
Did you know that massage is a fantastic aid to mental health? That’s because, as well as improving circulation and blood flow, massage releases endorphins (just like exercise) that improve your mood and contribute to reducing depression.

Massage has been growing in popularity – in fact, at The Massage Company, around 38%-40% of the client base is men. And in a recent survey to the customer base, 31% of people ticked one of their main reasons for going for a massage as mental health.

The crux of the issue is this – you can’t afford to put your own needs at the bottom of your priority list. If you want to improve your mental health, you need to commit time and effort to the goal. It’s not unmanly, it’s not weak and it’s not vulnerable – it’s putting yourself back on the path to a happy state of mind.

Since its inception in 2016, The Massage Company has continued to challenge common pre-conceptions of massage and the stereotype of the industry. Their vision is simple: to bring high-quality massage to the wellbeing mainstream. They want people to see massage as accessible to everyone and good value for money, so it can become a vital and routine part of a better and balanced quality of life.


Ten top hay fever tips for parents

By | children's health, Health, Summer
If your child has hay fever it can be extra challenging for parents, with symptoms that include itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing and general exhaustion. But there are things you can do to help. Below, trusted airborne allergens expert, Max Wiseberg, gives his ten top tips.

“As with many other things, prevention is better than cure!” says Max. Here are my ten tips to help reduce your child’s pollen load. The less pollen there is in the body, the less there is to react to. We can all tolerate a certain amount of pollen without any reaction. Keeping your child below this level will mean they have no reaction.

1 Limit your child’s exposure to pollen during peak periods. Pollen is released early in the morning and travels upwards as the air warms up. In the evening, as the air cools, it moves back down again. Symptoms are usually worst during the early morning and evening, when the pollen grains reach nose height, so try to keep children indoors at these times.

2 Encourage your child to wear wraparound sunglasses. This creates a protective layer between their eyes and the pollen-laden atmosphere, and can reduce symptoms considerably. It also relaxes their eyes, which in turn relaxes them. And it’s cool!

3 Change children’s clothes daily and after they’ve been playing outside and ask them to wash their face and hair after periods spent outdoors. Pollen sticks to clothing, skin and hair so symptoms can continue even when they get indoors. Washing or showering will remove any pollen remaining on the skin and hair.

4 Vacuum the house regularly (especially your child’s bedroom carpet, bed and fabrics) to remove pollen particles.

5 Wash their bedding frequently. Pollen grains come indoors borne on the air and stick to bedding, so frequent washing will help. Covering the bed with a sheet which is carefully folded and stored away from the bed during the night, before they get into bed, and turning pillows just before they get in, can also help reduce symptoms.

6 Close windows and doors to prevent pollen blowing into your home.

7 Tie your child’s hair up and encourage them to wear a hat or cap when outside to prevent pollen particles being caught in their hair.

8 Ensure your child has plenty to drink and encourage them to eat lots of fruit and vegetables to stay healthy and support their immune system.

9 Take your child to the GP, to get a proper diagnosis. If the symptoms occur only in high summer on hot, sunny days, it’s almost certainly hay fever. But it could be any of a number of other allergies and treatment might differ for each.

10 Make HayMax Kids part of your child’s daytime and bedtime routine. Apply this organic drug-free allergen barrier balm immediately after washing/showering first thing in the morning and before going to bed. Pop a pot in your daytime bag and leave a pot by their bed so it can be re-applied as needed. In independent studies [1], HayMax has been shown to trap over a third of the pollen before it gets into the body: less pollen, less reaction. And as it’s drug-free, HayMax is suitable for pregnant and breast-feeding women as well as children.

And of course the same applies to parents with hay fever too. Apply your HayMax regularly, change your clothes, wash or shower when returning home, wear wraparound sunglasses, wash your bedding frequently and stay indoors during peak pollen times.

[1] Chief Investigator: Professor Roy Kennedy, Principal Investigator: Louise Robertson, Researcher: Dr Mary Lewis, National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit, 1st February 2012.

Why parenting with anxiety makes you a ‘super-parent’

By | children's health, Education, Mental health
The last couple of years have been tough for everyone. The COVID pandemic has left many adults and children feeling uncertain, stressed and anxious at times. Several pieces of research have highlighted the heavy burden this period has put on parents of young children. If you are a parent or carer you may have found things overwhelming at times. You are not alone in those feelings. Almost every mum and dad across the country will have done so at some point.

At the Parenting with Anxiety Team we specialise in supporting families. We hope that the following will provide some useful information and reassurance. But also remember that you are the expert on your family.

Parents with anxiety are ‘super-parents’
From our work with parents we know that almost all of them go to massive efforts to do what is best for their children and that they are doing this while managing their own anxiety. Think of Ginger Rogers doing everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards in high heels. It is not easy!

We know that all parents can think they are not doing a good enough job, so it was great to hear a mother we work with describe anxious parents as ‘super-parents’. And they are! Super at managing their anxiety at the same time as juggling the demands of parenthood. If you are in this situation, take a moment to recognise that you are super too.

You are just one part of what makes your child who they are
If you find yourself experiencing anxiety, you may worry about the impact it has on your children. You may notice that they express some anxious feelings of their own. If that is the case remember that a huge number of different factors contribute to making your child the amazing individual he or she is. It is not all down to you. It is also worth remembering that when your child is anxious your understanding of your own anxiety can give you special insight into what they are going through.

Your child’s anxieties are not your own
When you feel anxious, your child’s worries can be overwhelming. It can be useful to remember that all children worry at times and it is perfectly normal. Sometimes you might be tempted to step in and fix things for them, so they don’t have the same experiences you did.

School experiences can be a point when we transplant the feelings we have about our experiences onto our children. But their experiences are different and the things which worry us may not affect them in the same way. Similarly, when your child is worried about something you do not have to share those feelings. If you can step back a little from their worries you will be better able to help them cope with them. This is not always easy and don’t beat yourself up if you do find yourself sharing their fears.

If you are worried, encourage your child to talk, and listen
Just by noticing that something is going on for your child you have already shown real sensitivity. The next thing to do is support them to share what they are feeling. You do not necessarily have to solve things – you might not be able to and that is OK. If worries are coming up at bedtime focus on soothing them and try and have a gentle conversation about it at another time. Sometimes it can help to have a chat while you are both more relaxed, for example in the car, while playing or walking back from the shops.

To find out more about the project at the University of Sussex please visit

cranial osteopath

What is cranial osteopathy?

By | Health, Osteopathy and cranial Osteopathy

Adults can be treated whilst sitting (particularly in pregnancy). Babies can be treated while awake, feeding or sleeping. Young children can play or read during their treatment.

Cranial osteopathy is the term which is referred to when using the involuntary approach to osteopathic practice and was developed at the beginning of the last century by an American Osteopath called W.G. Sutherland. Cranial osteopathy is a “non-invasive technique involving light touch to facilitate the body’s natural self-corrective mechanism” (Sutherland). Because of this, treatment is suitable for all ages and can be used from birth, to treat a specific problem or just to help restore balance in a hectic life.

The techniques are extremely gentle and are essentially a very safe method of diagnosis and treatment. Osteopaths using these cranial techniques also use orthodox clinical investigations in their diagnostic process and can help a wide range of conditions for which other osteopathic techniques would be inappropriate.

Cranial osteopathy is based on pure anatomy and physiology. Sutherland initially used the brain and skulls of animals to understand the skulls anatomy with its bevelled edges, hinge joints, sinus, sulcus and grooves. He went on to use human tissues and then live patients to develop his techniques, initially using them on himself to treat his migraines and then he used them on his family.

The craniosacral system is a physiological system consisting of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) which surrounds and protects the brain and spinal cord. It extends from the bones of the skull and face down to the base of the spine. The production and flow of the CSF occurs in a rhythmical pattern, it is this rhythm that can be palpated in the treatment. The technique focuses on enhancing the CSF flow throughout the body to facilitate the normal patterns of movement.

Imbalances or restrictions of these natural movements can manifest themselves physically. Many problems come about due to abnormal patterns, habits or traumas (including dental work) which can build up over a period of time. These restrictions or tensions slowly give rise to other problems and can result in pain, headaches, fatigue, migraines, whiplash, problems in pregnancy, digestive complaints and so on.

The use of the word ‘cranial’ when discussing these techniques can often be misleading as it implies that only ‘head’ based problems can be helped by cranial osteopathy. As the techniques work on connective tissues, ligament and drainage issues they are particularly useful for other joints and areas too.

Taken from


The communication and capabilities of a newborn baby

By | baby health, Education, Language, play, Relationships, sleep
by Karen Emery
Founder of Haven & Base,
Perinatal Practitioner, Parent Coach & Children’s Sleep Advisor

It wasn’t too long ago that we thought newborn babies couldn’t do much at all, other than eat, sleep and cry. But the exact opposite is true. Newborn babies are born with amazing communication capabilities and are primed and ready for social contact with their parents and caregivers right from birth. More importantly, brain science has shown us just how important this early communication is between a baby and their parent for a baby’s brain development.

Many parents are unaware that a human baby is born with an undeveloped brain and that a baby’s brain and nervous system grows most rapidly in the first few years following birth. A baby’s brain grows and develops in response to their environment but crucially in response to the interactions that a baby shares with their parent(s) and caregivers. Communication is more than talking. It’s any form of message sent from one party to another through sounds, words, or physical hints like body language. From the first moment that your baby is placed in your arms, you and your baby will be communicating with each other. These first glances, sounds, and touches literally shape the way in which your baby’s brain will grow and develop.

Everyone knows that babies cry but did you know that every baby has their own crying repertoire? Every baby has a unique and different cry for a different reason. Unlike other mammal babies, human babies are born completely dependent upon their parent or caregiver for survival and their ability to cry is very important for alerting an adult that something is wrong, or a change is needed. Babies have different cries for different reasons: a hungry baby may cry in a low or short pitched tone, while a baby who is angry or upset may cry in a choppier tone. As your baby grows, you as a parent will be able to recognise and understand what need that your baby is expressing. Even if we as parents cannot always work out why our baby is crying and what our baby is trying to express to us, it’s always important to respond to your baby’s cry for help. Responding to your baby’s cries (even when we may not know what they are crying for) helps to make your baby feel safe, secure, listened to, and heard. You cannot spoil a baby when you are meeting their physical and emotional needs.

Babies love talking! Although a baby doesn’t say a meaningful word until they are about a year old, they love to ‘take turns’ communicating with you as a parent or caregiver with facial expressions, gurgles, coo’s and body language. Why not give this a try? Find a moment when your baby is quiet but alert and give this ‘turn taking’ a go. Position your baby in front of you gazing into their eyes. What ever your baby does – you copy. If your baby gurgles, you gurgle back. Always wait for your baby to respond. This is a beautiful way to connect with your baby but don’t expect a full-blown conversation for hours at a time. Newborns can only manage this type of interaction for a few moments at each sitting before it can become over stimulating for their immature nervous system. As your baby grows and develops you can spend longer gazing at one another and conversing for longer periods each time but it’s always best to follow your baby’s lead. When your baby has had enough, they may look away, grimace, arch their back or posset (spit up milk). Crying is usually the last signal that your baby has had enough, and a change is needed.

This is the second article of three in a series about babies. In my final article, which will be available in the summer edition, I will discuss sleep tips for babies aged from birth until three months old.

You can learn more about how to communicate with your baby by visiting

Karen Emery is available for VIRTUAL one-to-one parent-baby consultations.
You can email her for an appointment at


Supporting children’s physical and mental health through outdoor adventure play

By | children's health, environment, fun for children, Mental health
by Melanie Parr
Managing Director, Lymley Wood CIC

The value of outdoor play and outdoor learning, getting out and about, moving their bodies and connecting to nature, is huge.Children experience freedom when they play outside. Outdoor play is a natural way for children of all ages to do physical activity, to exercise and stay fit. It’s good for children’s physical health, it improves brain development, it can boost mental wellbeing and improve sleep quality.

Outdoor play is particularly beneficial during times of anxiety, stress and adversity – it provides a sense of control and independence, it helps children make sense of things they find hard to understand, it supports their coping and resilience and it helps them to understand risk and their own capabilities.

According to the Open University’s OPENspace Research Centre, there is considerable evidence suggesting that time spent outdoors, in nature, increases life expectancy, improves well-being, reduces symptoms of depression and increases a child’s ability to function in school.

In addition to better physical health, teachers report improved concentration, better ability to focus and learn, increased productivity, better behaviour, and the fostering of more positive relationships between adults and children and amongst peer groups, when children are more active and spend more time outside during the day.

Time spent playing outdoors is also thought to help relieve stress and anxiety by reducing levels of the hormone cortisol in the brain. Time to have fun just playing, enjoying life in the outdoors and doing something that makes them feel good! Through this they can feel balanced and refreshed and more ready to learn.

“There is a natural simplicity to nature; it is far more tactile and tangible than the classroom. It’s a leveller; it strengthened my character and set me back on track. That’s why we should focus on wellbeing and encouraging our children to connect with the natural world. I’m not suggesting the abolition of the exam system, but we could certainly cut back to allow more time for children to explore the world around them.” Ben Fogel – broadcaster and writer.

Claims that connecting children with the outdoors is good for their social and emotional development, improved mental health and psychological and emotional wellbeing, are backed with clear evidence. “We now have conclusive evidence that sport and physical activity are clearly linked to mental wellbeing,” says Lisa O’Keefe, Sport England insight director.

One influential study (Psychiatric Times) measuring the effect of regular exercise on children with ADHD strengthens these claims. Ultimately, this study concluded that “moderate-intensity aerobic exercise may be an additional treatment modality for children with ADHD” and can be of benefit to all children generally. Most children at this age are naturally curious, and an outdoor environment really stimulates all their senses and lets their imagination go wild.

Exposure to nature has a soothing effect on all children, and can reduce hyperactivity, especially in those suffering from ADHD. Being outside in natural sunlight allows our bodies to naturally produce vitamin D, which releases the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain. This helps to regulate emotion and mood and is linked with happiness and relief from depression. Lack of sufficient time outdoors puts children at risk of vitamin D deficiency, because the sun is the best source for vitamin D production and it isn’t found in many foods. New research also backs up that exposure to microbes found in woodland soil can actually build immunity and act as an antidepressant.

Outdoor, active, ‘free play’ provides a powerful way of working with children and young people that supports optimal social and emotional development. Free play, getting outside and exploring nature all makes for healthier and happier minds and consequently happier well balanced, resilient children, who are more able to deal with challenges that life may hold.

Oh and let’s remember that playing and exploring outdoors is excellent fun!

Lymley Wood are taking referrals for teenagers onto their Wild Teens programme and offer regular weekly groups for tots and primary aged children.

Sources: Mental Health Benefits of Exercise in Children, Psychiatric Times, Vol 32 No 1, Volume 32, Issue 1 Mind & Brain/Depression and Happiness – Raw Data “Is Dirt the New Prozac?” by Josie Glausiusz, Discover Magazine, July 2007 Issue



The ‘Covid Cohort’

By | Education, Mental health, Relationships
by Sally-Ann Potter
Potter’s House Preschool and Forest School
I imagine many of us in the Early Years are adjusting to what should be the new normal – life after lockdown. As well as the logistical and financial impact that Covid-19 and various lockdowns has had on the Early Years, we are now faced with an altogether more alarming challenge – the ‘Covid Cohort’.

An entire cohort of children who are starting preschool are significantly lacking in vital areas of development. A global pandemic saw us losing so many support groups for parents that are vital to the development of children under five and we are now observing the detrimental effect it has had on their development.

By completing assessments of children in the Early Years we are able to identify and pinpoint areas where children may not be meeting targets. This enables early intervention and allows us the opportunity to help support those children to achieve goals and next steps. Recently, when observing children in order to assess them I have noticed first hand and also had reported to me a frightening number of our children who are unable to communicate effectively, are socially unaware and have no understanding of boundaries or keeping themselves safe. What was once around 5% not reaching goals is now closer to 85%.

As children’s brains develop the quickest within their first five years, it is fair to say that the negative effects of lockdown on children’s development could have lifelong impacts. Speech and language development are vital to a child’s ability to engage socially or in education and learning on the whole. Communication is the fundamental starting point for children’s learning.

Let’s look at all the positive interactions and experiences children have missed out on because of the pandemic – play dates, family gatherings, the library, the park, baby groups, singing groups. All of these experiences create opportunities for children to develop their language – they hear and learn new words as they are exposed to conversations, they learn to take turns speaking, this enables them to build social skills and mimic social interactions and, vitally, develop their confidence and self-esteem.

This lack of opportunity to develop their confidence and self-esteem means that the mental health of children in the Early Years is also negatively affected. On top of that the mental health consultations among new mothers went up 30% and is continuing to rise. Post Natal Depression has tripled! Mothers experiencing high levels of anxiety have gone up 43%. The ripple effect of this contributes to the decline in mental health of children in the Early Years.

So what do we do?
We need to look at how the pandemic has altered our ‘cultural capital’ and what we need to adjust in order to give every child an equal opportunity to grow and learn. With the introduction of a new EYFS, settings have the unique and long-awaited chance to construct their own curriculums. This couldn’t have been introduced at a better time and settings have a golden opportunity to build a curriculum that supports an entire cohort of children who need targeted support with communication. This is a time where Early Years settings can shine and make a real difference to the future of millions of children across the world.

How do we do it?
At Potter’s House we are fortunate enough to be supported by an incredible NHS Speech and Language team who offer training and advice to staff whenever necessary. In conversations with speech and language therapists and other practitioners supporting the Early Years, I’ve discovered how aware of this concern everyone is and how hard they are all working to combat it. We have a high level speech therapist attending our setting to deliver vital training, bespoke to our setting, in order for staff to fully understand and underpin the growth of our children’s vocabulary.

In addition to this we need to look at some ways we help children to develop communication and make it omnipresent in our practice. Go back to basics – make comments and statements when speaking to children, avoid asking lots of questions. Give children time to process what you have said and respond. Keep language limited and simple. Repeat back to toddlers what they say in order to model mimicking. If possible, reduce background noise. Build on what they have said, for example, “car”, “yes, and blue car”. Remove dummies and any other obstructions. Speak clearly and subtly correct their mistakes by repeating what they have said back to them correctly. Read to them and introduce visual aids in conversation. Play music and sing songs.

“From the earliest moments of life, children begin to learn the fundamentals of language. The most powerful influence for effective language development are the verbal interactions with caregivers.” – Dr David Perlmutter, Neurologist and Author of Brain Maker.

For more information please contact Sally-Ann at or call 07375 379148


Tips for bringing up a compassionate child

By | children's health, Education, family, Relationships

Compassionate children are ones that naturally grow into kind-hearted adults, as the values instilled in them through their childhood will be carried into their later life.

The key to raising compassionate children is through being conscious of your parenting techniques and the values that they’re teaching them. Here, MindBE Education shares tips for bringing up a compassionate child:

• Use storybooks to frame ideas

When you read a story ask questions about how the characters might be feeling. How would your child feel if they were that character? What might the character have done differently to be kinder? By highlighting these actions and feelings your child will develop a greater sense of empathy and perspective that will carry forward into their own life.

• Use a persona doll or puppet to discuss issues

Sometimes children don’t like to talk about things but will happily engage through a doll or puppet or other forms of play. If your child is facing a situation or there is an issue in the air, talk to your child and discuss how the doll or puppet may be feeling. Discuss how it might make you feel and what strategies the puppet could use to feel better. By talking about issues and situations that come up we can instil the values of kindness and compassion in our child.

• Teach your child to be kind

Modelling kindness yourself is the easiest way to do this. Do you smile, hold the door open or help your neighbours? More than anything a child will pick up on the cues from the adults in their life. If you are kind and compassionate your child most likely will follow your lead. When you do something, you might explain why you tried to help another and how we can be of service to others.

• Create a sense of gratitude in your home

Being grateful is linked to being a compassionate person. When we are grateful, we can feel empathy for others who may not have something we do. We can ease fear and anxiety and focus on the good which leads to a more loving outlook in the world. Try to take turns every night at dinner to say three good things that happened that day or encourage your child to write a gratitude journal each day.

MindBE Education offers teacher and parenting training courses and resources so that they can better teach children to build compassion, courage and confidence. MindBE Education was founded by Dr Helen Maffini. An international educator, author and consultant who has worked around the world, Helen is a certified emotional intelligence trainer, a Neuro-Linguistic Practitioner and a positive psychology leader.