Gillian Wilson SLT/Project Lead Gillian.email@example.com
Nice to see you. Let me tell you a bit about myself. I’m 6 months old now; had a bit of a reputation to start with to be honest. The midwife said I was ‘fretful’; the Health Visitor thought I was ‘a little unsettled’; mum and dad thought I was ‘****** exhausting’…. I guess I did cry a lot; didn’t know what was going on half the time.
So I’m sure you’re dying to know, how I went from this…….
Well, back in the day, mum and dad certainly took care of me, you know, changed my nappies pretty promptly; fed me; took me with them wherever they went – Granny’s place, the park, Tesco – but they didn’t seem particularly interested in me. But more recently, things have changed. The house has got a lot quieter, especially when they’re talking to me – I don’t need to compete with the TV all the time. And Mum and Dad play with me loads now – they tickle me and tell me great nursery rhymes, sometimes they sing to me (frankly, they really can’t hold a tune, but they try and I still like it); they watch what I do and copy the sounds I make – I think this is really funny so I make more sounds, which they seem to like. And then, they’ll pause and wait for me to do something else – no pressure, so I normally oblige with a bit more chat. And they use this really interesting sing-song voice which I could happily listen to all day – sounds a bit like Granny’s voice.
They’ve also got really good at telling me what’s going on – what they’re doing, the names of all the things I can see, they even give me words for how I’m feeling which is pretty cool.
I understand that Mum and Dad got a leaflet at the hospital called ‘Before Birth’ before I was born encouraging them to do some of this stuff, and then got another leaflet from the Health Visitor called ‘Baby Talk’ when I was just a few days old.
I’m sure they found the leaflets very interesting, but I guess I just changed their lives too much and they needed another prompt to actually try out some of the stuff.
Then I remember a lady visiting one day and talking about text messages – well, I wasn’t too impressed because, in my opinion, grown-ups spend way too much time on their phones, but it seemed to make a difference so that was good enough for me.
Every few days my mum’s phone would beep and she’d get a message reminding her talk to me. She’d get messages like:
- Your baby needs to hear your voice clearly so turn off noisy things like the TV, phone and washing machine.
- Did you know that when you’re feeding baby, they’re at exactly the right distance from your face to see it really well?
- Being Face to Face with your baby will encourage them to interact with you. Good times to get face to face are feeding, changing and bathtime.
- Pause and Wait as you talk to your baby – they need time to work out what to do. Babies just a few days old can copy facial expressions given a little time.
I think she was even given a link to a locally-developed website called Bumps2Bairns https://bumps2bairns.com that gave her even more information about good ways to look after me.
Mum and dad really took on board the messages and not only am I now much more chilled, as you can see, my vocabulary is amazing!!
Highland Council SLT Service are trialling the use of text messages to encourage parents to use key early communication strategies with their babies. The ‘Words Up Baby’ programme has been running in Highland for 6 years now and the text messaging service is the latest addition to the programme.